What is a tooth crown?


A tooth crown is an artificial cap that covers and protects a tooth. A crown completely encases a tooth, starting at the gums. Crowns are used to recondition teeth, improving strength, size, shape and appearance.

Crowns are used both for baby and permanent teeth. In children, crowns cover primary teeth that are too decayed for fillings. Crowns are also placed over teeth that are at high risk of decay.

On permanent teeth, crowns protect weakened teeth from breaking. If a tooth is already broken, a crown prevents further damage. When a tooth has a large filling, a crown supports it. Implants are often capped. Crowns are also used for cosmetic purposes, such as covering malformed or discolored teeth.

What happens when you get a crown for your tooth?

A dental crown is placed by first filing down the tooth, then making impressions of the tooth, according to Colgate. A crown requires at least two visits to the dentist.

The tooth needs to be filed down to make room for the crown, which fits like a cap over the tooth. Once that is done, the impressions are done and sent to a dental lab. Within a couple of weeks, the patient returns to the dentist and has the crown bonded to the tooth. Polishing the crown is the final step of the crown process.

Some patients get a root canal prior to getting a crown. This is done due to a cavity that reaches the pulp and nerves of the tooth. If a root canal is needed, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth until the permanent crown is installed at the dental lab. This protects the tooth from breaking before the final crown is bonded to the tooth. Some teeth also need a foundation to be built before placing a crown.

There are multiple reasons a dentist recommends a crown. Aside from a root canal, a crown may protect a decaying tooth, restore a broken tooth or cover a large filling if a lot of the natural tooth is missing. Crowns are also necessary when getting a dental implant or dental bridge.

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