A crown is a restoration that covers, or “caps,” a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. They are normally tooth coloured and are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won’t solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked, a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn’t get worse. Crowns are also used to support a large filling when there isn’t enough of the tooth remaining, attach a bridge, protect weak teeth from fracturing, restore fractured teeth, or cover badly shaped or discoloured teeth.
Crowns are stationary and are customarily indicated for teeth that have sustained significant loss of structure, or to replace missing teeth. Crowns may be placed on natural teeth or dental implants.
Preparing and fitting a crown requires at least two appointments. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared normally under local anesthetic, and an impression or mould is made of the tooth and a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it whilst the crown is being made. At the subsequent visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is cemented or bonded into place.
With CEREC, the procedure of making a crown or inlay can be done in a single appointment, start to finish.
For you, the patient, this means fewer injections, less drilling, no messy impressions and no temporary crown and less time out of your hectic schedule.
As an alternative to taking impressions, a camera is used to take a digital picture of your tooth. This whole process only takes a few minutes.
Your dentist will then create your crown using the CEREC machine. The CEREC software takes the digital picture of your tooth and converts it into a 3-dimensional virtual model on the computer screen. Within a few minutes, your Dentist clicks a button, and your crown design data is sent to a separate milling machine.
A ceramic block that matches your tooth shade is placed in the milling machine. About 10 – 20 minutes later, your all-ceramic, tooth-coloured crown is finished and ready to be cemented into place.
Finally, your Dentist tries the crown in your mouth to ensure it fits correctly. The crown is then polished and bonded to your tooth
Taking care of your crowns
Besides visiting your dentist and brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth is vital with crowns. Floss or interdental cleaners (specially shaped brushes and sticks) are important tools to remove plaque from the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque in that area can cause dental decay and gum disease.