All About Dental Crowns: Purpose, Procedure, and Care

Apr 16, 2024
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All About Dental Crowns: Purpose, Procedure, and Care

Few dental restorations are as versatile as a dental crown. Crowns restore damaged teeth, replace missing teeth, renew a beautiful smile, and may last for decades with daily care.

When you seek dental care from Maria Victoria Sebastian, DDS, and our caring team at Dentistry With a Smile in Livingston, New Jersey, you may also get your new crown in one office visit.

Here’s what you need to know about crowns from the dental problems they solve to what happens if you decide it's the best solution for your dental needs.

Dental crowns explained

A crown is a dental prosthetic that replaces a missing, damaged, or decayed tooth. Crowns look beautiful and function flawlessly because they consist of ceramic that matches your tooth enamel and is incredibly strong.

The crown goes over your existing tooth (if possible), completely covering it to create a new tooth. If your tooth is missing or severely damaged, we can use a dental implant to anchor your crown.

Crowns fill many purposes

We customize each crown, creating an exterior size and shape that perfectly fits your mouth and eliminates cosmetic problems like slightly crooked teeth. Combining customization with the crown’s strength means this prosthetic can:

  • Strengthen and preserve cracked and chipped teeth
  • Restore a severely decayed tooth
  • Protect your tooth after a root canal
  • Replace a missing tooth
  • Improve your smile (crowns cover misshapen teeth, hide stains, and fill gaps between teeth)

We can also use a dental crown to support a bridge if you're missing several teeth.

What to expect when getting a dental crown

At Dentistry With a Smile, we use today’s most advanced technology, the E4D® system, which has computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). 

What does the E4D system mean? It means we can make high-quality ceramic crowns in the office, and you get your permanent crown in one visit.

However, the process for getting your crown depends on whether we’re attaching it to an existing tooth or giving you a dental implant.

Anchoring a crown to a tooth

When anchoring a crown to your existing tooth, we can perform a traditional procedure or use the E4D system. The first step is the same for both choices. We begin by preparing your tooth, removing some of the enamel, and reducing its size so it can fit inside a crown.

For a traditional procedure, we take an impression of your mouth and put a temporary crown over your tooth. We send the impression to the lab producing the crown and schedule a return appointment to attach your permanent crown when it’s ready.

If we’re using the E4D system, we take a 3D image of your mouth with a digital scanner and the E4D uses the image to design your crown. The virtual design goes to the CAM system, an in-office milling unit that produces your crown from a piece of ceramic.

As soon as your crown is ready, we attach it to your prepared tooth, make sure it fits well and feels great, and you go home with a new smile.

Using an implant-supported crown

The process of getting a crown takes longer if you need an implant to hold it. We begin by removing your damaged tooth (if necessary) and then placing the implant into your jawbone.

Over the next few months, new bone grows and bonds with the implant, firmly securing it in your jaw like a tooth root. 

We can’t attach your crown to the implant until your bone completely heals, which takes several months. We give you a temporary crown until we can insert your permanent one.

Caring for a dental crown

Like your tooth’s natural enamel, your dental crown is strong, durable, and long-lasting, but not invincible.

You can help prevent cracks by avoiding hard foods like ice cubes and popcorn kernels. It’s also best to stay away from really sticky foods that can loosen your crown.

Care for your crown the same way you would your other teeth: brush at least twice a day and floss once. Regular dental checkups to clean your teeth and remove tartar will also prolong the life of your crown and allow us to find and fix any potential problems.

Do you want to learn if a dental crown is the solution to your dental problem? Call our office or book an appointment online today.