So at your last visit with your Lexington general dentist, you found out you need a dental crown. You probably have a ton of questions about what to expect. Why do you need a dental crown — and what exactly is a dental crown anyway? How does the process work and does getting a crown hurt?
With so many thoughts running through your head, it’s totally natural to feel a little nervous about getting a dental crown, but rest assured there is absolutely nothing to worry about. As your Lexington dental experts, the team at Palmetto Smiles is here to answer any questions you have about dental crowns and set your mind at ease. After all, knowledge is power and once you know exactly what to expect from a dental crown, you can walk into your appointment confident and ready to see your new smile. Here’s everything you need to know to prepare for your dental crown.
What is a Dental Crown?
Let’s start with the basics and take a look at what a dental crown is. A dental crown is a small, tooth-shaped “cap” that fits over your existing tooth to restore its shape, appearance, strength and function. The crown covers the entire visible part of the tooth — everything you see above the gum line — to provide stability and support to weakened, damaged or yellowing teeth.
Most dental crowns are bonded to the tooth using a dental cement. As for the crown itself, it can be made from a variety of materials. The type you choose will depend on your specific needs and personal preferences for your appearance. Here are the different types of dental crowns:
- Stainless Steel: Typically used on permanent teeth for temporary crowns, stainless steel crowns are prefabricated to provide short-term protection for damaged teeth while a custom crown is being made from another material. Stainless steel is also commonly used for children as a temporary measure; the crown fits over a decaying baby tooth and when the tooth falls out, the crown comes out with it.
- Metal: Many crowns are made from durable alloys, such as gold or platinum, or base-metal alloys. These crowns generally last longer than other types because they can withstand biting and chewing, and they rarely chip or break. However, not everyone wants to see a shiny gold tooth every time they smile, so metal crowns are best reserved for back molars.
- Porcelain or Ceramic: For a dental crown that most closely matches the natural color of your teeth, you’ll want to choose an all-porcelain or all-ceramic dental crown. They’re a bit more brittle than other types of crowns, so they’re typically used for front teeth only. These materials are also a good option for people with metal allergies.
- Resin: If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, resin dental crowns are less expensive than other materials. However, they are also much less durable and can wear down over time. Investing in a higher quality material up front may mean less visits to your dentist in the long run.
- Porcelain Fused to Metal: Unlike metal crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can be color-matched to your teeth. That said, they can also cause more damage to neighboring teeth than other types of dental crowns. The porcelain can chip over time, showing the underlying metal, so you may choose to use this type of crown for back teeth.
Why Do I Need a Dental Crown?
There are a number of reasons you might need a dental crown, ranging from structural to cosmetic. You may need a dental crown to protect your teeth from further damage, or you may choose to get a dental crown to improve the appearance of your teeth. Here are some common uses for dental crowns:
- To Protect Weak Teeth: The most common use for a dental crown is to protect a weak, decaying tooth from breaking or to provide structure to a cracked tooth. The crown can hold a broken tooth together and shield it from damage.
- To Restore Damaged Teeth: A dental crown can also be used to restore the appearance of a broken or worn-down tooth. The crown recreates the tooth’s natural shape and structure.
- To Hold a Dental Bridge in Place: A dental bridge is used to bridge the gap created by a missing tooth (or teeth). Dental crowns form the two anchors of the bridge and help to hold the artificial tooth in place.
- To Cover Discolored Teeth: If you have severely yellowing teeth, you may wish to improve the appearance of your smile with dental crowns. Crowns can also cover misshapen teeth to give them a more normal appearance.
- To Support a Filled Tooth: Sometimes, when a large filling is needed, it can compromise the structure of your tooth because there isn’t enough tooth material left to maintain its proper form. A dental crown can give your tooth the support it needs.
What to Expect from the Dental Crown Process
Now that you’re an expert on what dental crowns are and what they’re used for, you’re probably wondering how the dental crown process works. It’s a super simple, straightforward restoration procedure that can give you healthy teeth that last for years while looking completely natural. Here’s how it works:
- Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area
- Your dentist will file down the tooth that needs to be restored to make room for the crown
- Once your tooth is filed down, your dentist will take an impression which will be used to create a final custom crown. The final crown will be made from whichever material you and your dentist agree upon.
- In the meantime, you’ll receive a temporary crown to protect the filed tooth until your final crown is made. This temporary crown will be based on an impression of your original tooth before it was filed.
- At your next visit, your dentist will replace the temporary crown with your final one. If the crown is the right size, shape, fit, color and bite, he will secure it into place using dental cement.
At Palmetto Smiles, we know how hard it can be to fit multiple dentist appointments into your busy schedule. That’s why we’ve made it easier than ever to get a dental crown. We now offer same-day crowns to make the process as convenient as possible for our patients. If you are a candidate for a same day crown you will be able to skip the temporary phase and have the entire treatment done in one visit. Ready to book your dental crown appointment? Call Palmetto Smiles today.