Tooth crowns protect teeth when they need it the most. These state-of-the-art restorations provide a way for dentists to save a tooth threatened by decay or damage. You may wonder what the process involves if you think you need a dental crown or if you've been told you need one. In general, it will take roughly 2-3 dentistry visits over a few weeks to complete the crown process. Read below for more information about that process.
The very first step is to consult experienced dentist Dr. Keith Ogawa. He determines whether you need a crown based on the symptom or tooth damage you have developed. In general, dental crowns restore teeth that are:
- Broken or fractured
- Worn down
- Weakened and vulnerable
Crowns often replace an old, large filling that is no longer viable. Sometimes decay appears at the edges of old, large fillings. A tooth crown is an effective, comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing way to replace these types of fillings.
Crowns replace missing teeth as well. The restoration is placed at the top of a dental implant, or as part of a dental bridge.
Preparing the Tooth and Placing the Crown
If Dr. Ogawa recommends a crown and you proceed with treatment, you'll have your tooth prepared in the next appointment. Just as is the case for a dental filling, the surrounding area is numbed first. Then the tooth is gently tapered with a handheld instrument. It must be shaped a certain way so that the crown fits over it.
An impression of the tooth is made, from which the lab designs your custom crown. A temporary crown is placed at this appointment. We schedule your next appointment for when the crown is ready to be placed.
When you come back for your next visit, we remove the temporary crown. Dr. Ogawa checks the fit of the permanent crown and makes final adjustments before cementing it into place.
Once your permanent crown is cemented in place, you may want to know about the following:
- Avoid eating sticky or chewy foods that could dislodge the newly placed crown for a week or so
- Sensitivity on and around the crowned tooth is normal for a few days
- Floss around the crowned tooth gently for a couple days
Other than these measures, newly placed crowns don't require special care. Let us know if you have pain or sensitivity while biting down, or if your bite feels uneven. It's possible the crown will need to be adjusted slightly to get the perfect fit.
Long-Term Results and Maintenance
Continue to brush, floss and visit the dentist for routine checkups. Just like your natural teeth, your crowned tooth benefits from this dental hygiene routine.
You should continue to exercise caution when eating certain foods. Sticky, chewy and firm foods have the potential to chip, dislodge or loosen your crown. Cut foods into bite size pieces to help counteract these risks. Although uncommon, some people experience loosening or loss of a crown in the years following placement, usually because of a mouth injury or certain types of foods. Call our office if that occurs and we'll help you get your oral health back on track.
Take the Next Step: Call Our Team
If you have any questions or concerns about the dental crown process or would like to arrange a consultation with experienced Lake Oswego dentist Dr. Keith Ogawa, please call Contemporary Dental Health at 503-636-4069. We proudly provide state-of-the-art dental care for patients who visit us from across Oregon, including nearby areas of Portland and West Linn.