How do crowns work?
As with all our dental procedures, you will come in for an initial consultation where we assess the condition of your teeth to determine whether a dental crown is the most suitable option for you. This process will involve a thorough examination. Once we have agreed that a crown is the best course of action, we can start the process.
It is important to note that the specific dental procedure is highly dependent on the extent of the damage and type of crown.
The procedure will begin by numbing the tooth and the surrounding affected area. Once the tooth is sufficiently numbed, the next step is to shape the tooth. This involves ‘trimming’ away some of the tooth structure. The amount of tooth structure that needs to be trimmed is dictated by each individual patient’s scenario, the extent of the dental damage, and the type of crown they will be receiving. This information is vital to ensuring the right fit and shape of the crown. While cement will ultimately secure the crown in place, only the proper size and shape will ensure that long-term strength and stability is maintained.
Once the affected tooth has been trimmed successfully and the proper shape is achieved, the next step is to take an impression of the tooth – this is what allows for the perfect crown fit. First the tooth will be thoroughly washed, cleaned, and dried. A retraction cord is then tucked around the tooth in order to push the gums back. This will allow the impression material to provide an accurate representation of the tooth. Next, the impression material is prepared, and the impression tray is pushed down over the tooth (as well as the adjacent teeth) until it melts into one unit.
The impression is removed (at this point it has solidified), offering a replica of the affected tooth that requires the crown. A ‘bite impression’ is often taken in order to ensure that the patient’s teeth are correctly aligned and come together properly for effective biting and chewing.
The impression is sent off to the lab where they make a plaster cast that is used to create your new, custom-made crown. This process can take anywhere between 1 – 3 weeks. While waiting for your permanent crown to arrive, you can opt for a temporary crown. This is advised to protect the area.
The final step of the procedure is the crown placement. First your tooth will be properly anesthetized, and the temporary crown is removed. The crown will then be placed on your tooth to gauge the fit and check the shape and appearance. During this step of the process the crown may be removed and adjusted multiple times to attain the ideal fit. Once the perfect fit is achieved, your crown will be permanently cemented into place.
Once the crown has been secured in place, you will be asked to bite down (often on cotton gauze or a nonwoven sponge) until the cement is set. The final step for the crown placement procedure to be completed is to scrape away any excess cement around the teeth.
When you’re getting a crown, we:
- Match the crown to your existing teeth in colour and appearance to ensure a natural looking smile.
- Ensure that it fits properly and is positioned correctly, so it’s strong and will last.