A Reference crown Opens New Window (often called a cap) fits over and replaces the entire part of a Reference decayed tooth Opens New Window above the gum line. It encases the tooth and becomes the tooth's new outer surface.
You will typically need two or more visits to your dentist to repair a severely decayed tooth with a crown.
Crowns may be made of porcelain or a metal base covered with a thin layer of ceramic that matches your teeth and looks like a normal, healthy tooth. Crowns for the teeth in the back of the mouth may be made of gold.
During your first visit, your dentist will take out the decay and make an impression of your teeth to create a mold used for making the crown. Your dentist will:
- Numb your teeth, gums, tongue, and surrounding skin. Your dentist will first put a substance that feels like jelly directly on the area to start the numbing process, and then inject an Reference anesthetic Opens New Window to complete it. Many dentists will give you nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) to reduce your pain and help you relax.
- Sometimes use a small sheet of rubber on a metal frame (rubber dam) to target the decayed tooth and stop liquid and tooth chips from entering the mouth and throat.
- Drill out all the decay.
- Take an impression of the decayed tooth. The mold will allow a technician to make a crown that perfectly matches the drilled tooth.
- Cover the tooth with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready.
During your second visit, your dentist will:
- Numb your teeth and gums as before.
- Remove the temporary crown.
- Cement the permanent crown to the damaged tooth.
- Have you bite on a piece of carbon paper. This shows how well the crown is positioned. If necessary, your dentist will reshape and polish the crown.
What To Expect After Treatment
Your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the anesthetic wears off. To avoid injuring your mouth, be careful not to chew on your numb lip or cheek.
Why It Is Done
A crown is used to:
- Treat teeth that have broken or decayed so much that your dentist cannot fix them with a Reference filling.
- Cover a tooth that is so severely damaged that most of the top part had to be removed.
- Repair a defective filling.
- Improve how a tooth looks.
Dentists sometimes use crowns after Reference root canal treatment Opens New Window to seal the tooth and prevent it from breaking.
How Well It Works
A crown will work just like a healthy tooth.
Crowns sometimes come loose over time, and you may need to get them cemented again or replaced.
If tooth decay is right next to the pulp, the pulp may not be strong enough to make healthy Reference dentin Opens New Window, which surrounds and protects the pulp. If this happens, your dentist or Reference endodontist Opens New Window may have to remove the pulp, or an Reference oral surgeon Opens New Window may have to remove the Reference tooth root Opens New Window.
If you have certain heart problems, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before a dental procedure. Some procedures can cause bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. The antibiotics lower your risk of getting an infection in your heart called endocarditis. For more information, see Reference People Who Need Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis and Reference Procedures That May Require Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis.
What To Think About
If the decay is near the Reference pulp Opens New Window and your dentist thinks the pulp might die, he or she might suggest taking out the tooth (Reference extraction) and using a Reference bridge Opens New Window or Reference implant. If the pulp dies after you get a crown, you will need a root canal to remove the dead pulp.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: June 14, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry