Dental crowns, also known as dental caps, cover damaged or discoloured teeth. Crowns cover the entire tooth, starting at the gum line. They are usually made of gold, porcelain, or a combination of both. Though crowns can be used to improve the appearance of a tooth, they are not primarily cosmetic devices. Dentists recommend crowns to protect or strengthen weakened teeth, or to restore a disfigured tooth to its original shape. "Capping" a tooth requires buffing away part of a tooth to make room for the crown, so dentists often discourage it as a cosmetic method unless the teeth are damaged. Crowns strengthen teeth by binding the sides of the weakened tooth together, much the way a splint holds together a broken bone. Large fillings taking up over a third of the tooth may weaken that tooth over time; crowns are often used in cases where such weakened teeth threaten to break. The "capping" procedure takes place under anaesthetic. Because the crown is about two millimeters thick, the dentist first shaves this same amount off your existing tooth to avoid awkward-looking, oversized teeth. The dentist will also re-shape your tooth into a form upon which a cap can easily sit. He or she will then make a replica of your tooth. Usually, this replica will be a putty mold. This mold is then sent to a laboratory, where the crown will be made based on this mold. In the case of a porcelain crown, the dentist will choose a shade close to the colour of the surrounding teeth. You will return about two weeks later to have the crown fitted and, once both you and your dentist are satisfied with the "look and feel" of the crown, cemented over your original tooth. Your dentist will make an impression of the tooth and a dental laboratory will create the crown. You will typically leave the office with a temporary crown to wear while the permanent crown is being made - this takes about two weeks. The permanent crown is then cemented onto your tooth. Typically, only two visits are required for this part of the procedure. Often, a preliminary restoration of your tooth may be needed before a crown can be placed. To stabilize your tooth, a filling must first be put in place prior to placing a crown due to the loss of original tooth structure. Tooth crowns usually last ten to fifteen years. Be sure to discuss with your dentist that the cement color used for your permanent crown will be the same as used for your temporary crown. A try in paste is used for this purpose. The color of the cement does affect the overall color of a porcelain crown, so this needs to be discussed long before your temporary crown is placed. In some cases your dentist may choose to use a Flipper instead of a temporary crown. A Flipper is a false tooth to temporarily take the place of a missing tooth before the permanent crown is placed. A Flipper can be attached via either a wire or a plastic piece that fits in the roof of your mouth. Flippers are meant to be a temporary solution while awaiting the permanent crown.Request a Consultation
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