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A crown is a custom-made covering that fits over an original tooth that is decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable. Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are quite different. Veneers are typically applied only to relatively small areas.

The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:

  1. Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
  2. Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
  3. Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
  4. Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
  5. Applying the custom-made crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the custom-made one onto the tooth.
  6. After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.

This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.

Home Care After Receiving a Crown or Bridge

Usually it takes more than one appointment to give a patient a crown or bridge. At the first appointment, your mouth is anesthetized so our doctor can prepare and file down your teeth that need the restoration. While the permanent, custom crown or bridge is being made, our doctor will place a temporary crown or bridge in order to protect your teeth. After this first appointment, your lips and tongue will be numb because of the anesthetic used. Do not eat or drink a hot beverage until all the numbness has subsided so you do not accidentally bite your lip, tongue or cheek.

If your temporary crown falls off, please call our office immediately. Bring the temporary crown with you to the office, and we will re-place it on your tooth. To ensure the temporary crown stays on, do not eat sticky or hard foods or chew gum.

For a few days, the tooth with the temporary crown may have heat, cold and pressure sensitivity. These sensitivities should typically subside in a short period of time after the permanent crown is placed. To alleviate the pain in the meantime, we recommend taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin as directed on the bottle.

As with any procedure, if your pain or sensitivity persists, or if you have any questions, please call our office.