Being told that you need a “cap” on your tooth isn't exactly the most exciting news. But likely, it's the only way to save your tooth.
There are many possible reasons why you might need a dental crown. Even kids sometimes need to get dental crowns. These restorations reinforce weak teeth and protect them from breaking apart. Dental caps are also used to anchor bridges or top off implants.
Whether you or someone else in your family is preparing to get a crown, it's helpful to know what to look forward to.
Planning for a Crown
The first step is deciding which kind of restoration you need. Your dentist will assess the way your tooth fits with other teeth when you bite down, and determine what kind of pressures it faces. This information determines what material your new crown will be made of.
A crown can be designed from a variety of materials:
- stainless steel
Which crown is right for you depends on balancing your oral health needs with aesthetics. A dentist will help you make a choice that both looks great and will last for a long time.
Prepping Your Tooth
Next, your tooth must be reshaped and prepared to receive a crown. All the damaged and decayed parts are removed so that you're left with a sturdy core. This all happens while your tooth is nice and numb. You won't feel a thing! It's a very similar experience to getting a regular filling.
After that, your dentist will take an impression or scan of the tooth which is then used to design a mold for the crown. You'll probably go home with a temporary crown to wear while you wait for the final version.
Life with a Temporary Crown
Wearing a temporary prosthesis isn't so different from having a permanent dental crown. The cap will protect your tooth from debris, bacteria, and extreme temperature changes. Your job is to keep the cap clean and to avoid chewing on hard or sticky items so that it doesn't come loose. It’s best to eliminate treats like gum, caramel candies, and nuts for the time being.
Getting Used to Your New Crown
Once your final restoration is ready, your dentist calls you back into the office to pop off the temporary prosthesis. Your tooth is cleaned up well, and the new crown is checked for a precise fit.
After cementing your crown in place, your dentist will probably want to check it with an x-ray.
It's not unusual to have a little sensitivity for a few weeks while your tooth adjusts to its new covering. Take good care of it with thorough brushing, flossing and fluoride. Regular dental checkups are also vital to ensuring that your restoration holds up for years to come.
Not sure if you need a dental crown? Talk to your dentist about options to achieve the brightest, healthiest smile.