Crowning or “capping” is a dental procedure which involves reducing the entire surface of the tooth and replacing the surface with an artificial material. During the crown procedure, there will be a stage whereby you will be given a temporary tooth crown to wear while waiting for the actual crown to be made.
When do you need a dental crown?
- To restore a badly decayed tooth.
- To fix problems seen in cases of extreme wear to age or bruxism.
- To correct problem of crowded teeth.
- For fractured teeth
- For spacing problems
- As an aggressive form of treatment for staining and discoloration of teeth.
There are several types of crowns – some can be made from metal, some made entirely of high-strength porcelain or cast glass; others combine metal and porcelain while some can opt for gold. The type of crown chosen will depend on the several factors, including the location of the tooth or teeth being crowned, the type and severity of the condition of the tooth, and the overall health of the surrounding gums. Generally speaking, the best material choice for a crown would be the ceramic-metal, or also known porcelain-fused metal, crown because the metal provides additional strength to the tooth crown.
What are the procedures involve in making a crown?
- Regardless of the type of crown you choose, your dentist will first reduce the tooth approximately one-third in size to make room for the crown. If your crown is made of gold, a minimum amount of tooth material is shaved off because gold can be made thin whereas a crown made of porcelain will require more space to put on.
- Impressions are then made of the teeth and a stone replica is created to determine your natural bite. A dental technician who specializes in working with porcelain and metals then constructs the actual crowns from these models.
- While your crown is being prepared in the lab, a temporary crown will be given to protect the tooth area that had been shaved off and is kept covered for about two weeks or so. This temporary is cemented using a soft paste which can be readily removed when your crown is ready.
- When you go to the office for your “try-in” appointment, each crown is fitted and colored to the desired shade.
How long would a crown procedure take?
Crowning would usually take two appointments which could last an hour or more depending on the number of teeth getting crowned. Expect to spend more time if a more extensive treatment is involved.
What is a temporary crown?
A temporary dental crown, usually made from acrylic, is made during the procedure of making of a crown to protect the tooth area that had been prepared while awaiting the final restorations being made in the lab. These “temporaries” can help you become accustomed to having a new shape in your mouth if teeth are being lengthened or a new bite is formed. They also help you decide in advance if you like what you see and if you think you can live with it.
Why is a temporary crown needed on a tooth?
Temporary crown on tooth is given to:
- Protect the teeth which had been prepared and to reduce sensitivity.
- For aesthetic purposes.
- To maintain your normal bite and allow you to chew.
- To maintain the space between the teeth
- To allow you to speak properly (especially if your temporary cap tooth is in the front).
- To maintain the health of your gums.
How to take care of a temporary tooth crown
- Avoid chewing anything for at least 30 minutes after the temporary crown is placed to allow the cement to set.
- Tooth sensitivity after temporary crown may be reduced using desensitizing toothpaste. Further discomfort may be relieved using mild pain killers like Tylenol™, Advil™, etc.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water, 3 times a day to reduce gum swelling or soreness.
- Proper care has to be taken to keep the temporary crown and the surrounding gum area clean. Brush at least twice daily using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Dental floss should be used to clean in between the teeth and temporary crown.
- Avoid chewing sticky and tough foods as well as eating foods that can stain the temporary crown.
What to do if your temporary tooth crown comes off
As the temporary crown cement is designed to be weak, it may get dislodged off. If it does become loose and comes off, contact your attending dentist immediately to get it cemented again. While waiting for your appointment to replace the loss of temporary crown on tooth, you can try placing a small amount of denture adhesive in the crown and position it back on your tooth. Do NOT use ordinary household glue!
It is important to get your temporary crown re-cemented instantly because the teeth can move within a short period and affect the fit of the final restoration. In the worst case scenario, you may need to start all over again.