Crowns are created to look, feel, and perform like natural teeth. Each dental crown is custom-made for each individual patient, designed to cover, protect, and reinforce the original tooth. The underlying tooth may be damaged or weakened, such as following a root canal procedure or large filling, or the tooth may be missing and a dental implant is surgically placed. Depending on the location of the dental crown in the mouth, the prosthetic piece can often be made of all porcelain, with or without metal inside.
To make a dental crown, an impression is taken of the patient’s mouth, giving the lab technician proper size and space measurements for creating the prosthetic. If the natural tooth is still in place, it is usually filed down to reduce its size. The dentist will file and shape the tooth before making the impression to give the lab the exact dimensions needed for the crown so the prosthetic fits perfectly over the filed tooth. If the tooth is damaged, the dentist will repair the tooth first, then shape and prepare it for the crown.
With metal or gold crowns, the size and shape are made to resemble a natural tooth, but the color is obviously metallic, usually a silver metal tone or gold. For porcelain and similar crowns, the color is usually matched to the adjacent teeth so the finished product offers the most natural look possible for that patient. Once made, the color of a porcelain crown is permanent, so bleaching and whitening treatments will have no effect on the color. If the crown is intended for front teeth, patients may opt for professional whitening before having the crown made so the color will match the brightest possible smile.
For most patients, once a dental crown is bonded to the natural tooth underneath, the treatment is permanent. The crowned tooth functions just as a natural tooth, but can be damaged just as a natural tooth can if the patient engages in poor dental habits such as chewing on pens and pencils or ice cubes, or in the event of sudden impact. If the bonding cement is simply loosened, the crown can often be cleaned and re-bonded to the tooth, but if damaged, a new crown will have to be made.
To learn more about natural-looking smile enhancements and other treatment options, contact Withers Dentistry at (940) 293-2635 today!