A Crowning Experience

Have you been told that you need a crown? Here is some information about what to expect during the crown procedure, which involves two visits.

The first appointment appointment is about an hour long visit and it involves:

  1. Preparing (shaping) the tooth
  2. Taking an impression
  3. Placing a temporary crown

During the time period between the two appointments, a dental laboratory will fabricate the crown. About 3 week are usually allotted for the laboratory to complete their work.

At the second visit (about 20 minutes in length) we will:

  1. Cement the finished crown into place.


The procedure in full detail will be described below.

Before the crown process has begun, we will need to anesthetize your tooth and the gum tissue that surrounds it. Once numb, the doctor will begin to shape the tooth. This needs to be done because all crowns need to have a certain minimal thickness on all sides to insure that they have enough bulk to have adequate strength. In the case of porcelain crowns, the ceramic thickness allows for a life-like translucency. The tooth will also be adjusted to maintain a specific tapered shape so the crown may be placed and secured on the top. The proper shaping of the tooth supporting a crown plays a significant role in the stability of the crown and for that reason, if a tooth is broken or has decay present a build-up may be done in order to shape the tooth properly. After the shaping is completed, it is time to take an impression of the tooth.

The impression will be used by a laboratory to fabricate the crown to fit into position properly. In order to ensure an accurate impression of the tooth, the tooth is washed and dried and a small “retraction” cord is tucked around the tooth, in the space between it and its surrounding gum tissue. The cord pushes the gum tissue back away from the tooth. After the cord has been removed, the gums will stay retracted long enough for the impression material to seep around the tooth, allowing an impression of the entire tooth preparation. The impression material is placed on a tray and placed over the prepared and surrounding teeth and allowed to set. Once set, the tray and material are removed and contain an accurate representation of the positioning, shape and bite in the area of the tooth to be crowned.

At this point, a temporary crown is placed. This will be  utilized to protect your tooth and keep it from shifting position. These are made out of a plastic material and are placed using a temporary adhesive so it can be removed easily at the next visit.\

After the permanent crown is completed by the dental laboratory, the crown placement appointment will occur. During this appointment, we will remove the temporary crown and any residual temporary cement on your tooth. The permanent crown will then be tried in place to make sure that it fits well and looks as it should. We will assess the fit utilizing some floss, a dental instrument and checking the bite. If any adjustments are required, we will adjust the crown to fit appropriately so that it touches the opposing teeth. Once proper fit and look are confirmed, the crown is cemented in permanently. This is accomplished by placing cement into the inside of the crown and place it into position. We will remove any excess cement from the edges of the crown.

For the first hour or so we ask that you avoid eat hard or stick foods to allow the cement to cure fully.

You will have a new crown and a restoration that will serve you just as a natural tooth would. If you have any further questions about an upcoming crown procedure, we invite you to ask our team members for more details.

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