Crowns are a great way to restore a tooth's function, cosmetics, or both. Most commonly, crowns are used to restore worn down, broken or decayed teeth that can no longer be supported or fixed by a traditional filling.
The crown, or cap as they are sometimes called, is "cemented" over a tooth that has been prepared by having the outer surface removed. The crown sits like a hat on top of the tooth slightly above the gum line to provide a covering for the tooth. Crowns can be made of a variety of materials including porcelain, gold, or a combination of both. Porcelain crowns have gained popularity because of their natural tooth-colored appearance and recent advances in technology make them very strong. Each of these materials have certain advantages and your dentist will make a recommendation on which is best for you.
Crowns typically take 2 appointments. During the first appointment, the tooth is prepared by removing a small amount of tooth structure all around the tooth providing space for the crown material. An impression, unique to your mouth, is made and sent to a dental laboratory where the crown is crafted by a skilled technician. With this impression, the technician creates a tooth that blends in shape and color to your surrounding teeth. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be placed to protect the tooth during the laboratory phase. At the second appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is fitted with a few slight customizations. Once the crown is properly shaded and contoured, it is "cemented" permanently. You now have a long-term restoration that will provide years of normal function and support. Daily home care, especially flossing, is important to maintain the crown.