Dental crowns are also sometimes referred to as “caps”. They can be used for restorative or cosmetic purposes. If your dentist recommends that you need a crown there could be many different reasons why: to protect a weak tooth from breaking, to restore a cracked or worn tooth, to cover and support a tooth when there is not a lot of tooth structure left due to large fillings or decay, to hold dental bridges in place, to cover dental implants, or to make cosmetic modifications such as covering a misshapen or discolored tooth.
Dr. Beischel commonly uses three different types of crowns: porcelain fused to metal, all porcelain, and full gold crowns. On porcelain fused to metal crowns there is a porcelain coating on the metal crown and the porcelain’s color can be matched to adjacent teeth. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are commonly recommended in all areas of the mouth as they are very natural looking. All porcelain crowns are made without any metal and are a good choice for patients who have metal allergies. They are the most natural looking crown but they are not as strong as other options. All porcelain crowns are recommended for patients anterior or front teeth. An all gold crown is a crown made entirely of gold, without any porcelain. All gold crowns are very strong and durable. They are recommended on molars or back teeth, especially for patients who grind their teeth.
In our practice crowns are completed in two appointments, typically 10 business days apart. The first visit is the “prep appointment”. If a radiograph of the tooth was not taken at your prior appointment then the doctor will have a current localized radiograph taken – this is called a periapical radiograph or a PA. The doctor and his assistant will then take any needed impressions – these are necessary so that the lab that is creating your crown will know what your dentition looks like and they will be able to create a custom, well-fitting permanent crown. The doctor will then anesthetize your tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Once you feel the area is numb, they will begin the prep work. This is where they will file the tooth down to allow space for the new crown. The amount of prep work depends on the reason for the crown. If there is a large amount of natural tooth that needs to be removed then the doctor may need to place a build up. This is a composite material that works as a foundation to support the new crown while protecting your natural tooth structure. One the prep work is done the doctor will fit you with a plastic temporary crown. The second appointment generally takes place 10 business days after your crown has been prepped. This gives the lab time to create your new permanent crown. At the second appointment the doctor will remove your temporary crown and cement the new, permanent crown into place. Your new crown will act and function just like your natural tooth.