A crown is a tooth-shaped prosthetic placed over a tooth that has been severely decayed or damaged. Since not enough of the tooth remains, a filling cannot replace the tooth or support it. A crown, however, can be used to save the tooth. Unlike dentures, which are removable, a crown is fixed and cemented on top of a natural tooth or an implant.
Uses of Crowns
At Tualatin Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we may recommend a crown to:
How Do Crowns Work?
A crown is a cap that is designed to cover the entire damaged tooth. It not only provides support and strength to the tooth but is also used to improve the shape and appearance of your smile. It can also be cemented to an implant and provides the necessary structure and function.
Porcelain crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Crowns can also be made from cast gold, base metal, and porcelain fused to metal. These materials are stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for molars. Usually, people prefer porcelain bonded with metal as it is both aesthetically pleasing and durable.
Placement of a Crown
Sometimes when you need a crown, you may also need a root canal treatment; however, this is not always necessary. Root canal treatment is only required when the cavity is deep and extends to the pulp where the nerve is located.
Since crowns are used when large areas of the tooth become decayed or damaged, we may need to insert a post-and-core foundation into the tooth.
To prepare the tooth for a crown, your dentist will file down the tooth to accommodate the prosthetic. If you have selected an all-metal crown, less of the tooth surface needs to be eroded as these crowns are thinner than porcelain-based ones.
Your dentist will then isolate the tooth away from the gums and other teeth. He will make an impression of your tooth using a putty-like material, which sets into shape within five minutes. Alternatively, we may also use digital technology to take impressions for the crown.
These impressions are then sent to a laboratory where the crown is fabricated. While it is being made, we will place a temporary crown on your tooth. The temporary crown is fixed in place by weak cement which allows us to remove it easily.
Once the permanent crown has been made, we will remove your temporary crown and test the permanent crown. Sometimes the crown needs some small adjustments and polishing. Once it is completely ready, it is fitted into place.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
The average lifespan of a crown is usually 15 years, although they can last much longer if they are taken care of properly. In some cases, the crown remains fine, but the tooth on which it is fitted develops a cavity. Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent plaque buildup and make your crown last longer.
Although crowns can last you several years, they can sometimes become loose and fall out. If this happens, wash out the crown and place it inside a clean plastic bag. Then, call us at (503) 878-7474 to schedule an appointment. We can give your crown a professional cleaning and fit it back into place.
To make sure your crown lasts a long time, stay away from very hard and sticky food, and keep your teeth nice and clean.