You've heard the term "dental crown." Now your dentist at Dr. Jeffrey R. Wert & Associates says you need one on a back tooth. Why are they recommending this restoration, and what does it mean for you and your dental health?
What is a dental crown, and why is it needed?
A dental crown, often called a "cap," is a restoration which completely covers a tooth from top to gum line. It is crafted to match the color, size and shape of surrounding teeth.
Dentist use crowns to restore the function, strength, size and appearance of a tooth that has been damaged through injury or extensive decay. Some teeth which receive crowns have had the inner nerve and pulp removed through root canal therapy.
What is a dental crown made of?
Typically, crowns are made of porcelain over metal, 100% porcelain, a composite resin, gold or acrylic. Gold crowns are the strongest and are often chosen to replace molars because they withstand the substantial biting forces at the back of the mouth. Porcelain is the most popular aesthetic choice, and acrylic works well for a temporary crown.
What is the crown procedure like?
Once the dentist and patient determine that a crown is the right treatment, the dentist will take an impression of the patient's mouth. This impression will be used by the dental lab to create a model and to fabricate the restoration. The dentist also removes the decayed or damaged portions of the tooth, shaping and preparing it to receive the crown. Many people do not even need local anesthesia for this.
Some dentists can craft a new porcelain crown using computer-aided design software right in the office. Others send the treatment plan to a lab and place a temporary crown in the patient's mouth until the permanent crown is made. When the crown is ready, the dentist checks it for fit, color and size and then cements it into place.
Does a crown need special care?
A dental crown requires the twice daily brushing and once a day flossing that natural teeth do. The patient must also keep a regular schedule of dental exams and cleanings.
How long does a crown last?
With proper care, a quality crown will last for years -often up to 15. As with your natural teeth, treat a crown gently, avoiding habits such as biting open plastic packaging or chewing ice or hard candy
What about the cost of a crown?
Costs vary by material, amount of preparation and dentist. Check with your insurance provider to see what is covered under your plan.
Jeffrey R. Wert DMD and Jeremy Olen DMD
At Dr. Jeffrey R. Wert Associates Family Dentistry, we care for all aspects your dental health--from exams and cleanings to cancer screenings to beautiful restorations such as crowns. Contact us with your questions today. We will be honored to serve you. In Pocono, Pennsylvania call 570-629-1570.