A crown is a thin covering over your tooth that replaces the outer layer of tooth enamel. There are a lot of reasons why a crown might be the right treatment for you. Sometimes when a cavity gets too big, the tooth isn’t strong enough to stay together when you’re chewing, and a crown can help keep it strong for years. If a tooth has cracked or broken, a crown can replace the missing or weak part of the tooth to prevent further damage. It is also a great way to change the color or shape of a tooth if it just isn’t looking or working the way we want it to.
Advances in material science has allowed our office to use predominantly metal free restorations. In the past, gold was the only material that could stand up to the pressures of chewing. Now, the material of choice for functional and esthetic crowns and veneers is porcelain. It creates beautiful restorations that are strong enough to last and metal free.
When Would I Need A Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are very versatile and can be used in a number of different situations.
- Cracked, Chipped, or Damaged Tooth – Minor chips and cracks may be repaired with dental bonding. More serious damage, however, may require a dental crown. Your tooth will be trimmed, then a crown will be built and bonded into place to protect the remaining structure. Failure to repair a tooth in time with a crown could result in a tooth infection and further complications.
- Severe Tooth Decay – While most decayed teeth can be filled, a crown may be required instead of a filling or to protect a filling if your tooth has a very large cavity. The decayed material will be removed and your tooth will be trimmed, then a crown will be applied to restore the shape of your tooth and prevent further decay.
- Replace an Old/Damaged Filling – If one of your old fillings falls out, Dr. McCue may determine that it is better to replace it with a crown, especially if the filling was a large silver-amalgam filling.
- Root Canal Therapy – After your tooth has been disinfected and cleaned during root canal therapy, the remaining enamel may need to be covered up and protected with a crown. Usually, you’ll come back 2-3 weeks after your root canal to have your crown fitted and placed.
- Cosmetic Restoration – If you have a seriously stained or misshapen tooth, a crown may be the best way to cover it up and restore your smile. Your tooth will be trimmed and Dr. McCue will create a crown that looks just like a natural tooth to cover it up and restore the beauty of your smile. Cosmetic crowns are often used in conjunction with other cosmetic treatments like veneers and teeth whitening.
The Dental Crown Healing Process and Aftercare
Typically, you’ll feel some discomfort or sensitivity in the tooth which has been treated with a crown for up to a few days after your procedure. This should usually subside within 3-4 days.
You can take over-the-counter pain medicine like Tylenol or Motrin to help with pain and discomfort. If your jaw and gums are sore, you can also use an over-the-counter analgesic like Orajel for pain relief. If your pain continues beyond a week or becomes very severe, come back for a consultation with Dr. McCue right away.
It may take a bit of time for you to get used to how your bite feels with your new crown, but in some cases, your crown may need to be adjusted. If your bite does not feel right after 3-7 days, schedule a follow-up with Dr. McCue and we will take a look at it and make any necessary adjustments.
Caring for Your Dental Crown
After your crown is placed, you should avoid eating sticky, gummy foods for at least 24 hours, to ensure the crown has time to adhere to the underlying tooth structure.
Dental crowns require no special care beyond regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice per day, and daily flossing. Proper oral hygiene is essential, as the underlying enamel below a crown can still decay if you do not care for your teeth properly. With proper care, your crown will last for 15 years or more.