Dental crowns have been around for millennia and are still used to restore smiles today. Ancient dentists used ivory, bone, and seashells to make crowns for teeth. Evidence of gold crowns dates from 200 A.D. Porcelain crowns appeared in the 1800s. With the advancement of metal casting techniques in the 1900s, crown technology took a big leap forward.
A dental crown procedure consists of several steps:
Your dentist will anesthetize the tooth to be crowned and then prepare it. All decay is removed and the tooth is shaped. Usually, the dentist files off tooth structure to reduce the size and create the proper shape. Sometimes, the tooth is too small to begin with; in that case, the dentist builds up the core of the tooth with filling material to establish a heavy-duty base for the crown. All-metal crowns—as opposed to porcelain crowns—have thinner sides, requiring less removal of tooth structure.
Creating a Good Impression
The dentist will use a putty-like substance to form an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth. An impression will also be made of the teeth that oppose the crown. This ensures that the crown does not negatively affect the bite.
The Temporary Crown
A temporary crown is used to guard the tooth and make sure it doesn’t move in the mouth while the permanent crown is being constructed. Patients need to be careful with their temporary crown. It is not as strong as the permanent crown and is attached only with temporary cement. Avoid chewing gum and eating sticky foods. Be aware that the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold.
Choosing a Color
If the new crown will be created with porcelain, you and your dentist will use a shade guide to elect a shade for the restoration. Most men and women don’t have teeth that are exactly the same color. You will need to establish the best suited shade to blend in with the surrounding teeth.
The Lab Team Works Its Magic
The dentist or a laboratory technician then uses the model to build the crown. Some dentists have the equipment required to create crowns right in their office. Same day restorations are created with a machine that mills a crown from a small block of ceramic in the appropriate shade.
Your Crown Is Put In Place
When the new crown is ready, your dentist places it in your mouth and makes any needed adjustment to attain an optimal fit. This process shouldn’t be rushed. Sometimes less than a millimeter of drilling can make the difference between an ill-fitting crown that makes irregular contact with the opposing teeth and a crown that is correctly fitted.
We are Drs. Greg & Joanne Szalai, of Szalai & Szalai DDS – Allen Park Dental Care in Allen Park. My practice, Szalai & Szalai DDS – Allen Park Dental Care, offers dental crowns, Six Month Smiles, teeth whitening, Invisalign, and porcelain veneers.