When a tooth is badly decayed from a large cavity and the overall health of a tooth is threatened, you may require a dental crown. Crowns (or caps) are a type of tooth restoration whereby a cap or casing is set completely over the decayed tooth and is bonded to that tooth with a dental cement. This improves the strength of the tooth.
There are many other reasons why patients need crowns. Teeth that become weakened or cracked due to an injury, teeth that are mis-shapen or severly discolored, a tooth with an unusually large filling, or for cosmetic modifications are just some of the reasons patients have crowns.
One of the most common reasons for needing a crown is when a tooth has had a root canal performed in the past. An x-ray is initially taken to determine the overall health of the tooth. Periodontal or gum health is also determined, and the health of the endodontic or nerve is evaluated. The crown procedure can take as little as 2 visits, but vastly depends upon the nature of the work involved. The first session involves numbing the tooth for comfort, a dental impression of the tooth is made to make a temporary tooth-colored crown. The tooth shape is reduced to allow for the spacing of the new permanent crown. For patients with severe decay, a root canal procedure may be performed first before impressions are taken.
A crown is anticipated to last between 5-7 years. This life of a crown depends upon the wear and tear on the mouth, how well the patient abides to good oral hygiene, and personal habits like nail biting, and clenching your teeth. It is important for patients to remember that there is a tooth below the crown and brushing and flossing is still required. A good antibacterial mouth rinse is also recommended.