Dental crowns, also called caps, are covers, placed over decayed or damaged teeth. They are commonly used to restore teeth that are broken, fractured, worn down, misshapen, or severely decayed. Crowns are also placed on weak or brittle teeth to prevent damage. In select cases, they may be used for cosmetic enhancement, if technicalities prevent the placement of porcelain veneers.

Exam

The first step in the process is an examination and consultation with Dr. Dietrich. Unless you have a background in dentistry, it is unlikely that you can tell if you are going to need a crown simply by looking at the tooth in the mirror.

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Sometimes the damage isn’t as bad as it seems, and a filling or veneer will do the trick. Other times, you might only see a small cavity, but it is very deep or it has spread behind the enamel, causing more structural damage than is apparent.

Restoring health

Root canal treatment is not required for every tooth that needs a crown. However, if the pulp (soft tissue in the middle of the tooth) is injured or infected, it will be necessary before the tooth can be restored. If you need a root canal treatment, Dr. Dietrich will discuss it with you during the initial consultation and examination.

Shaping the tooth

Before beginning any work, the doctor will numb your tooth to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the process. Next, any decayed, diseased, or damaged portion of the tooth is removed. Depending on the amount of healthy structure that remains, the doctor may reduce the tooth further, or build it up with dental materials. It is imperative the size and shape be optimized, because this will have a significant effect on the fit and durability of the crown.

Impressions

Once the tooth is prepared, Dr. Dietrich will take impressions, which the dental laboratory will use to create your permanent crown. At this time, he will also fit you with a provisional restoration to protect the tooth and make it functional until your crown is ready.

Completing the procedure

We will schedule your next appointment when the permanent crown is ready. Dr. Dietrich will then remove the provisional, clean the tooth, and put the new crown in place with temporary adhesive. This gives him an opportunity to check the fit, bite alignment, color, and other factors. If everything is just right, he will remove the temporary adhesive, and permanently cement the crown in place.

If you have any questions, or you would like to schedule an appointment, call Pleasant Dental at (708) 576-1900.

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