Getting a crown is more involved than a standard filling, but there’s no need to be afraid. We’ll walk you through each step of the process. A crown is typically done in two visits; here’s how it breaks down.
First things first, we want you to be comfortable through this process! If you need sedation, we’ll take care of that before we start any work. If you don’t need sedation, we’ll still make sure you’re completely numb so you don’t feel any pain while we prepare your tooth.
This is the part that involves a drill. If there’s an old filling or decay in the tooth, it all has to be removed before a crown can be placed. In any case, the outside layers of the tooth have to be taken off to make room for the crown itself. Crowns can be made from several very thin materials, but they do take up a little space between the teeth.
If a lot of drilling is done, there might not be quite enough tooth left to anchor the crown well. In that case, Dr. Westmoreland will do a crown build-up by filling in some of the drilled area with composite, just like a normal filling. Once it’s cured with a UV light, it’s strong enough to fit a crown onto.
The last part of preparation is pulling back the gum slightly so the crown can sit below the gum line. This won’t be painful, but it does involve medicine to keep your gums from bleeding, which can taste bad.
Once the tooth is fully prepared, we take two sets of molds. One is a mold of the prepared tooth and the ones next to it; this is the basis for the inside of the crown and how it should fit. The other requires you to bite down on the mold, to show the height of the crown and how it needs to meet the opposite teeth.
Your temporary crown will typically be made of acrylic. It will be tooth colored and generally the right shape, but it won’t be as perfect as your permanent crown. It will be set with a strong temporary cement so that it won’t come off until it should.
Your permanent crown will be ready about two weeks later. Generally, no anesthesia is needed for a second crown appointment, but if you’re anxious or the tooth is sensitive, we can numb you or offer you sedation.
Removing the Temporary Crown
Dr. Westmoreland will remove the temporary crown with a pair of forceps. Usually, it only requires a bit of wiggling, but it can take a little work if it’s particularly stuck. If it hurts, speak up and we’ll numb the area.
Fitting the Permanent Crown
Finally, the permanent crown is installed. Before the cement is applied, Dr. Westmoreland will make sure the fit is exactly right. Then the cement is added and you’ll bite down on the crown for a couple of minutes to set it.
If you have any questions about the process, please ask us! We want you to be informed and comfortable throughout your dental work. To learn more about Dr. Westmoreland or to schedule an appointment, call our office or contact us today.