Karrinyup Dental Centre

Understanding the Dental Crown Process From Start to Finish

Karrinyup Dental Centre

Written by:

Dr. Justin Soon

Published on:

Understanding the Dental Crown Process From Start to Finish

The process of getting a dental crown involves several important steps, each designed to help you achieve the most optimal outcome for your dental health. This guide provides a simple overview of the dental crown process, from the initial consultation to the crown fitting and aftercare.

Knowing what to expect at each stage can make the experience less daunting and more comfortable. We aim to provide you with the necessary information to approach your dental crown procedure confidently. With this, you can be confident that you will be thoroughly informed about the process.

Summary of The Content

  • Dental crowns restore and enhance the appearance and function of damaged or decayed teeth.
  • The process involves a dental crown consultation, tooth preparation, crown fitting, and aftercare.
  • Crowns can be made from a wide variety of materials, like porcelain, ceramic, metal, and resin, each with unique benefits.
  • Proper dental crown aftercare, including oral hygiene maintenance and regular dental check-ups, is crucial for crown longevity.
  • Risks include tooth sensitivity, chipping, and the possibility of a crown becoming loose or falling out.
  • Consultations are utilised to customise the type of dental crown and treatment plan based on individual needs and preferences.
  • Temporary crowns protect the prepared tooth while the final crown is being made.
  • Dental crowns can address a wide range of dental issues, including tooth decay, damage, and wear.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown process involves several key steps, each crucial for the health and appearance of your smile:

  • Dental crown consultation:
    An initial appointment where your dental condition is assessed and the process is explained, setting the foundation for your treatment plan.
  • Dental crown preparation and dental impression:
    The tooth is prepared through reshaping, and an accurate impression is taken to create a crown that fits snugly and looks natural.
  • Dental crown placement:
    The crown is fitted and adjusted during a follow-up visit. Once proper fitting and normal bite is achieved, it is secured in place with dental cement.
  • Dental crown aftercare:
    Involves regular dental visits and good oral hygiene practices to maintain the crown and support overall dental health.

Every step of the dental crown procedure is focused on improving your oral health and enhancing your smile’s appearance.

Why Might You Need a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are cap-like restorations that address various dental issues by covering and protecting teeth that are decayed, damaged, or have undergone invasive dental treatments.

Here’s a closer look at common reasons for considering a dental crown:

  • Tooth decay:
    Significant decay can weaken a tooth, making it unable to support a dental filling. A dental crown can cover and protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Damaged teeth:
    Teeth that are cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged can benefit from a crown, which restores the tooth’s appearance and function.
  • After a dental procedure:
    Following specific dental treatments, such as a root canal procedure, a crown may be recommended to strengthen the tooth.
  • Wear and tear:
    Over time, teeth can become worn down from grinding or other habits. Crowns offer a protective layer, reducing further wear.
  • Misshapen or discoloured teeth:
    Crowns can provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance for teeth that are significantly misshapen or discoloured.
  • Dental implants:
    Crowns are often the final step in the dental implant process, acting as the visible part of the tooth replacement.

A dentist may recommend a dental crown after a thorough consultation. Regular dental appointments are crucial for maintaining longevity and health. This collaborative approach between the patient and dentist emphasises the importance of oral health and enhancing one’s smile.

Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns come in various materials, each offering unique benefits and considerations. Understanding the types of crowns and their characteristics can help you determine which one is suited for your needs.

  • Porcelain crowns:
    These crowns are popular for their ability to match the natural tooth colour, making them a preferred choice for restoring front teeth. They provide a high aesthetic appeal but may wear down opposing teeth more than metal crowns.
  • Zirconia Crowns:
    Zirconia is a relatively new material that combines the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain crowns. These crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, a strong type of ceramic that resists wear and tear, doesn’t chip easily, and can be matched to the colour of the natural teeth. Zirconia crowns can be made with a solid zirconia or layered zirconia for an even closer match to natural teeth appearance.
  • Metal Crowns:
    Made from gold, platinum, or base-metal alloys (like nickel or chromium), metal crowns are the most durable and long-lasting. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. The main drawback is their metallic colour, which is why they’re usually used for molars or other teeth that are not visible when smiling.
  • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Crowns:
    These crowns combine the durability of metal with the aesthetic appearance of porcelain. A metal shell is covered with a porcelain layer to give it a more natural appearance. While they are strong and durable, the porcelain part can still chip or break off, and the metal crown margins can sometimes show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line.
  • Acrylic resin crowns:
    Acrylic resin crowns are the most cost-effective option and can be matched to the natural colour of your teeth. However, they wear down over time faster than other types of crowns and are more prone to fractures. These are usually used as temporary crowns.
  • Stainless steel crowns:
    Stainless steel crowns are primarily used for children’s teeth. They are fitted over a baby or primary tooth to protect it from further decay or damage. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the adult tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it.

Each type of crown has its ideal uses and considerations, including cost, the health of the tooth underneath, and the crown’s position in the mouth. Your dentist can help you decide which type is suited for your specific situation based on your needs, preferences, and budget.

What Happens During the Consultation

During a dental crown consultation, your dentist will determine the ideal course of action for your needs. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Oral examination:
    Your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, focusing on the tooth or teeth that may require a crown. This includes checking for extensive decay, weakened teeth, and the condition of adjacent teeth.
  • Discussion of dental crown options:
    The dentist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of crown to help you make an informed decision.
  • Evaluation of tooth structure:
    This helps decide whether a tooth crown is suitable and what preparation will be necessary.
  • Dental Impressions:
    If a crown is recommended, impressions of your teeth may be taken during the consultation so your dentist can plan your treatment.
  • Colour matching:
    Colour matching is crucial so your crown can blend with your natural teeth. Your dentist will use a shade guide to determine the right shade for your tooth-coloured dental restoration.
  • Explanation of the procedure:
    Your dentist will explain the procedure so you’ll be prepared for the dental crown process.
  • Aftercare guidance:
    Your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to care for your crown after its placement so you’ll be prepared for the adjustment period.
  • Financial and practical details:
    You’ll discuss the cost and financing options available for the treatment. Your dentist will also give an estimate of how long the treatment will take.
  • Clarifications:
    A consultation is a chance for patients to clarify any doubts or questions they may have before proceeding with the treatment.

Preparing for the Procedure

Preparing for a dental crown procedure is a simple process that aims to optimise your oral health and achieve a successful outcome. Here’s how to get ready for this dental treatment:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene:
    Keeping your teeth and gums clean is crucial. Brush twice daily, floss, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce plaque and keep your gums healthy.
  • Discuss your medical history:
    Inform your dentist about any medical conditions and all medications you’re taking. Some conditions or medications can affect the procedure or healing process.
  • Arrange transportation:
    If your dental crown procedure involves sedation, you’ll need someone to drive you home. Plan this to avoid any last-minute issues.
  • Follow dietary guidelines:
    Your dentist may provide specific instructions regarding eating or drinking before the procedure, especially if sedation is planned. Follow these instructions carefully.
  • Prepare questions or concerns:
    Write down any questions or concerns about the dental crown process, materials, or aftercare. Doing so helps you remember and discuss these important points during your final consultation before the procedure.
  • Rest well the night before:
    A restful night’s sleep can help reduce stress so you’re well-prepared for the procedure.

Preparing for your dental crown procedure can provide a smoother experience and optimal restoration results. Follow these steps to be well-prepared.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Dental Crown Process

The dental crown procedure aims to restore a tooth’s strength and improve its appearance. Here’s a brief guide through each step:

  • Initial consultation and dental X-ray:
    The treatment begins with evaluating your oral health to identify if a dental crown is suited to address your needs. Dental or digital X-rays are taken to assess the extent of decay and damage and the condition of the surrounding structures.
  • Choosing the right material:
    You and your dentist will discuss and select the most appropriate material for your crown. This decision is influenced by the tooth’s position and your desire for a natural look.
  • Preparing the tooth:
    Your dentist will prepare the tooth for the crown by removing the decayed and weakened parts. The tooth will also be reshaped to make room for the dental crown. This will help in achieving a proper crown fit. Afterward, an impression of the tooth is taken and sent to the laboratory for crown fabrication. The impression may be taken using a putty-like material or a digital scanner.
  • Placing a temporary restoration:
    A temporary crown is placed to protect the reshaped tooth while the final crown is being fabricated. This helps in maintaining comfort and functionality.
  • Fabricating the crown:
    Dental laboratory technicians create crowns, with the timeline dependent on material selection and lab availability.
  • Fitting the final crown:
    The temporary crown is replaced with the new crown, which is then checked for proper fit and bite and adjusted as necessary. This is done to avoid bite problems or discomfort.
  • Cementing the crown:
    Once a proper fit is achieved, the dentist will secure the crown in place using dental cement, restoring the tooth’s function and aesthetics.
  • Post-treatment dental care:
    Your dentist will provide you with instructions for post-treatment care. This may include a list of foods to avoid and maintaining good oral hygiene to protect the crown and surrounding gums.
  • Follow-up visits:
    Follow-up visits to the dentist will be scheduled so they can check the crown’s fit and make any necessary adjustments, aiming for comfort and satisfaction with the restoration.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Knowing what to expect during the recovery process after a dental crown procedure helps achieve a smooth transition back to daily activities. This phase is essential for the longevity of your crown and for maintaining oral health.

Immediately after the procedure

  • You may notice mild sensitivity in the affected area, particularly to hot and cold temperatures. This is a common occurrence and usually resolves within a few days.
  • It’s normal to experience some discomfort or mild pain once the anesthesia wears off. Over-the-counter pain relief can manage this, but consulting your dentist is advisable if discomfort continues.
  • The gum tissue surrounding the newly crowned tooth may feel tender or sore for a few days. Gentle oral care can help alleviate this discomfort.

The first week after the procedure

  • Eating on the unaffected side may feel more comfortable until the crown and surrounding tissue have fully adjusted.
  • You may notice that your bite feels different after placing the crown. If this feeling persists or the crown feels too high, visiting the dentist for an adjustment may be necessary.
  • Proper oral care is paramount. Continue brushing twice daily and flossing daily. Be gentle around the new crown to avoid irritating the surrounding gums.

Long-term care and maintenance

  • Dental crowns require the same level of care as your natural teeth. Consistent oral hygiene practices are essential to prevent decay of the tooth underneath as well as gum disease.
  • Avoid using your teeth as tools or chewing on hard objects to protect your crown from damage.
  • Regular dental check-ups are recommended to maintain the dental health of your teeth, and this includes monitoring the condition of the crown and surrounding teeth.

Dental crowns improve the appearance of teeth and address issues like decay, weak or misshapen teeth, and discolouration. Regular oral care and dental visits maintain the health of your crown and overall dental health.

Dental Crown Aftercare

Caring for your dental crown is crucial for its durability and the health of your surrounding teeth. Here are some tips for managing and looking after your dental crown so it remains functional and aesthetic for years.

Daily oral hygiene

  • Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to maintain your dental crowns and natural teeth.
  • Floss daily, paying particular attention to the area around the crown, to get rid of any food particles and prevent plaque buildup.

Eating habits

  • Avoid chewing hard and chewy foods or ice with your crowned tooth to prevent damaging the artificial crown.
  • Steer clear of sticky foods that can pull on or dislodge the crown, especially during the first 24 hours after placement.
  • Maintain a balanced diet to support overall oral health and the longevity of your crown.

Regular dental visits

  • Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. These visits are essential for assessing the condition of your crown and the health of your surrounding teeth.
  • If your dental crown feels uncomfortable or loose, schedule a consultation with your dentist as soon as possible.

Avoiding bad habits

  • Refrain from using your teeth as tools to open packaging or bite nails, as this can damage your crown and natural teeth.
  • If you grind your teeth at night, consider asking your dentist about a night guard to protect your crowns and natural teeth from wear.

Specific care for different types of crowns

  • Follow your dentist’s aftercare advice for the maintenance of your dental crowns.
  • Take care of your dental crown like your natural teeth, whether it was placed for decay or aesthetics.

By following these guidelines, you can make certain that your dental crown is durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. This, in turn, will help promote a healthier mouth and give you a more beautiful smile.

Risks and Considerations

It is important to be informed about the potential risks associated with a dental crown procedure, even though they are rare.

Potential Risks

  • Sensitivity or discomfort:
    After placing a dental crown, the tooth may become sensitive to temperature changes. This sensitivity usually diminishes over time, but it can sometimes persist.
  • Chipping or damage:
    Although modern crowns are durable, they can chip or break, especially if you habitually chew hard foods or grind your teeth. Porcelain crowns are particularly susceptible to this.
  • Loose crown:
    Over time, the cement holding the crown in place can wash out, leading to a loose crown. This can increase the risk of decay on the remaining part of the tooth.
  • Gum Disease:
    If oral hygiene is not maintained, plaque can accumulate around the crown and lead to gum disease.
  • Allergic Reactions:
    Although rare, there’s a possibility of an allergic reaction to the metal alloys used in some types of crowns.
  • Crown fall out:
    Sometimes, a crown may fall out due to improper fitting, a lack of cement, or decay underneath the crown.

Before undergoing dental crown treatment, it’s important to discuss these risks and considerations with your dentist. They can provide personalised advice and help you decide if a dental crown is a suitable option for you, considering your specific health needs and circumstances.

Final Thoughts

The process of getting a dental crown involves initial consultations, precise preparation, and careful aftercare, all of which are essential for improving dental health. This process is designed to address issues like decay and damage and enhance the overall appearance of your smile. Each stage is crucial, aiming to provide a comfortable experience and a beautiful, natural-looking crown.

Choosing the right type of crown and understanding the aftercare involved are vital components of this treatment. We offer a range of materials for dental work to meet both functional and aesthetic needs. Proper care post-procedure is essential for maintaining the crown’s integrity and your oral health.

At Karrinyup Dental Centre, we are dedicated to guiding you through every step of the dental crown process. Our team is committed to providing comprehensive care and support, making your experience as informative as possible. Get a dental crown for a healthier, more confident smile. Book a consultation appointment today.

Dr. Justin Soon

Author

Dr. Justin Soon

Dr. Justin completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Western Australia. Dr Justin completed his surgical implant training under the mentorship of Dr. Glen Liddelow, Dr. Graham Carmichael, and Dr. Brent Allan at the Branemark Centre.

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