The dental crown procedure refers to essentially replace the outer layer of your tooth, the enamel, with a permanent cover made out of porcelain. This is done in order to preserve the natural structure of the tooth whenever it has been damaged, fractured or weakened. This means your tooth can last for many more years in spite of the problem it may have had. This covering can have several materials. Some of the most common ones are metal-fused to porcelain, full porcelain, ceramic or full-cast metal. These metals can be metal alloys, silver or gold. Essentially, the most natural-looking materials available are full-porcelain or ceramic because these materials reflect the sunlight in a similar way natural enamel does. In fact, some full-porcelain crowns will not be noticeable to the unprofessional eye.
You may want to consider a dental crown in any of the following situations:
- Your tooth has considerable decay.
- Most of your tooth is now a large filling.
- You need to replace a missing tooth and need a bridge.
- You’d like to correct a discolored or misshapen tooth.
- You have gotten a dental implant.
- Your tooth had a root canal treatment.
The dental crown procedure can be performed in two appointments and most of the work will be done on the first. First, your dentist will give you some local anesthesia to prevent discomfort. Some preliminary x-rays are also customary. Using special burs, the dentist will then start to grind the enamel of your tooth. This is a delicate process since she must take care your nerve and blood vessels underneath the enamel are not exposed or damaged. Taking this into consideration, she must nonetheless prep the tooth creating a clear and definite shoulder for the crown to sit on. After this is completed, she will insert some threads on the margins of the crown and take a final impression both of the prepped tooth and of the opposing teeth and send this to the lab for fabrication.
In most dental offices, the lab time can be 2-4 weeks considering the impressions must be sent off state, sometimes across borders, be fabricated at the lab and then returned. At our dental office, we skip this traveling time because we have an onsite lab. This cuts the turnaround time to a few days. When your crown is ready, you will be called in to the second appointment.
The second appointment consists of trying in your crown, making sure the crown sits perfectly over the margins created when prepping, making sure the color is right and that your bite is good. Your dentist should take x-rays to see how the crown fits subgingivally. When checking the bite, your crown should not be too high so as to hit it before you hit the rest of your teeth or too low so as not to hit your opposing tooth at all. When everything is adjusted as needed, the dentist will dry the crown, cure it and then cement it permanently. This last part is very important because any minor contamination will make the crown fall off.
Once you are done, you can return to your regular life in no time. Just like any other tooth, crowns need of a good oral hygiene, daily brushing and flossing to prevent gum disease and decay. No matter what kind of crown you get, make sure you do not bite over hard things, like apples or nuts to prevent fractures or chipping. Please let your dentist know as soon as possible of any adjustment needed, especially if you get more than one crown.
At our dental office located in Costa Rica, our turnaround time for crowns is one week due to our onsite lab. We also use the best quality porcelain and ceramic materials for fabrication and offer an incredible 10-year warranty for our work. If you are looking for quality at an affordable price, consider coming to Costa Rica. Contact us to see how we can help!