Crowns & Bridges in Lake Worth, FL
What is a Crown?
A crown (or “cap”) is a protective cover for your tooth. You can think of it as “artificial enamel”. The white part of the tooth that you normally see when looking in the mirror is replaced by porcelain. There are different materials that crowns can be made from. At Palms Dental Care we use almost exclusively porcelain and zirconia. It is bonded to your tooth just like a filling. When done well, no one can tell that you have a crown on your tooth and it is comfortable.
Why Are Crowns Done?
Broken teeth - When a tooth breaks, it can break in many different ways. Most of the time however, a corner or side of the tooth breaks off. In this case, there is not enough tooth left to predictably replace the missing part with a filling. In other words, if filling material was added to the missing area, it would most likely break again in the near future. Therefore, the entire chewing surface is replaced by one solid piece which makes the tooth strong again.
Decay - If a cavity is big enough, there may not be enough remaining tooth to fill. In general this is about half the tooth. Once half of the top of the tooth is removed due to decay, it may be necessary to give the tooth a new shell.
Wear/erosion - Some people grind or clench their teeth to the point where they have ground through the enamel into the inner layer of the tooth (dentin). I frequently use the analogy of an M&M. There is a hard outer shell and softer inner layer. Once the natural hard outer shell is removed from grinding, the softer inner layer is easily eroded away over time. In these cases, a crown may be recommended to replace the hard outer shell. In extreme grinding cases, crowns may be needed on all the teeth in order to fix them.
Aesthetics - Many people are unhappy with the looks of their teeth. This can be for many reasons, and someone might not even know why they don’t like them. For example, it may be the shade (too dark), position (overlapping teeth), spaces, shape (maybe too square or too rounded). Dental crowns and veneers can improve the shade, shape, and alignment for many people.
Root canals - Teeth that have had root canals (especially back teeth) are weaker from the root canal therapy procedure and will break of not covered by a crown. Usually a post and fillings is placed in the core part of the tooth prior to making a crown for it.
Crown and Bridge Process
- The process for doing a bridge is the same as crown but is completed for multiple teeth on either side of missing tooth space.
- Mold taken which is used later to make temporary crown
- Topical anesthetic followed by local anesthetic given and allowed to soak in
- All decay removed from tooth and tooth is reshaped to make room for new shell
- Impression of teeth taken and provided to dental lab to make crown
- Temporary crown made and cemented to tooth with temporary cement
- Two weeks in temporary crown followed by quick visit to replace with permanent crown
When you leave the office, you should not eat, chew, or bite until all anesthetic has worn off completely. This will prevent you from biting on your lips, tongue, cheek, etc. Once it wears off, you may feel a slight aching/tenderness in gum tissue around tooth. This is normal and is inflammation from the procedure. If needed, Ibuprofen 400mg- 600mg, is best to decrease discomfort. This can last up to several days post-treatment.
Do not floss around your temporary crown, but if you feel you need to, pull the floss out from the side, do not pop it back out from between your teeth. Avoid sticky foods and candies like taffy, bubble gum, etc. A good diet for temporaries is what I like to call the “fork” diet. If you turn your fork sideways and try to cut the food, can it cut through easily? If not, then neither can your tooth and you risk dislodging the temporary crown.
If the temp comes out, call Palms Dental Care and let us know. We will likely have you come in for us to re-cement it. If it is the weekend or you are on vacation, clean it out, place a small amount of toothpaste in it and put it back in place. You can also get temporary crown cement from the drug store (CVS).
It is normal to have some temperature sensitivity while in the temporary crown. It is a rough fit to your tooth and is not sealing the sensitive inner layer of the tooth like the final crown will. These sensations typically go away with delivery of permanent crown.
Contact Us to Learn More about Dental Crowns
Call Palms Dental Care with any questions about crowns and bridges. We do these every day and do our absolute best to make the process as easy and comfortable for you as possible.