Now that my tooth has been prepared for a crown what can I expect?
Explanation of today’s treatment
Today your DentFirst dentist prepared and shaped your tooth to receive a crown. Some people refer to these crowns as ‘caps’. Your dentist then made a exacting model of your tooth so that the laboratory could fabricate a covering which will restore it to excellent form and function. In fact the material used to make this impression is so accurate it can detect the raised ink on a brand new dollar bill!
Between now and your next appointment, in a few weeks, both your dentist and the dental laboratory will need to complete many steps. The mould of your upper and lower teeth will be duplicated in high-definition material. This model will be returned to your dentist who will check it carefully and trim it so that the laboratory will be able to more accurately create the metal sub-structure which supports the porcelain. Finally layers of shaded porcelain are bonded, with great care, to shape the final restoration so that it looks like a real tooth. This technique can provide accuracies measured to less than ten-thousandths of an inch.
Care of my temporary crown
To protect your remaining root and tooth structure your dentist has placed what is called a ‘temporary crown’. This is temporarily bonded in place with a medicated glue, or cement, which is only designed to hold your temporary tooth in place until the next visit. On front teeth your temporary crown is made of a tooth-colored plastic which has neither the strength nor vibrancy of color depth which will be present in the final crown. We often call this a ‘Smiling’ tooth…because that’s basically what it was designed for. You should never try to chew with it. On back teeth your temporary crown will be made of metal because of the pressure it receives from the opposing jaw. It, too, should not be used as a chewing tooth. You must chew on the other side of your mouth while it is in place. It is OK to brush your temporary crown. Unless your dentist or dental assistant has demonstrated the special flossing technique for temporary crowns you should not floss around that temporary tooth. Floss may catch under the edges and it will pop off. Your dentist will advise you.
If your temporary crown does become loose you may be able to gently press it back into its proper place. If your appointment for the final crown is just a few days away and there is no sensitivity or concern about its appearance, you may leave it off. However if your appointment is not in the next few days, or it won’t easily seat back into place, then please call us so that we may see you and replace it back onto your tooth where it belongs.
Care of my gums around the temporary crown
To obtain the best possible fit your dentist has to extend the mould or impression material into the crevices between your tooth and gums. Sometimes this can cause irritation to your gum tissue. Additionally the temporary crown only comes in a few standard sizes. Since it can’t possibly fit your tooth as well as the final custom made crown will, there may be some tiny rough spots. Let us know if there is any problem. You can help your gums heal by rinsing them with warm salt water (1 tsp. of salt in a glass of warm water). Remember to brush your tooth very gently and carefully until your next appointment.
Care of my final crown
Congratulations! You have had your final crown installed today. It was made to exacting specifications just for your tooth. We want it to last you many years. You should treat your new tooth just as you would your other teeth. Daily flossing and brushing after each meal will help keep the gums, and the remainder of the tooth under the crown, healthy and free from bacteria which can cause gum disease or even re-decay of the remaining tooth structure. While we often call these crowns ‘permanent’, nothing can really last forever. Most insurance companies will consider a crown a success, and pay for its replacement, if it serves you daily for 5 years. Most dentists and patients want to see it last much, much longer. Avoid chewing on ice and hard foods such as nuts which can crack or break your new crown. Do not be afraid to chew a normal diet because with proper care your new crown will last you for a very long time.
New crowns can take just a little getting used to. Usually your teeth will mesh perfectly even before you leave the dental office. If, after a few days, you still think that your new tooth is ‘high’ please let us know so that we can quickly take care of it for you. It is not abnormal to have some slight sensitivity to air or cold for a short while after you have your crown installed. Remember that you have had delicate surgery to hard tissues in your mouth and that, after recovery, your new crown will become such a part of you that you will probably even forget that you had the procedure done! We want you to have many years of enjoyment eating and smiling with your brand new tooth!