Dental Care for Kids: Finding the Right Dentist

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Dental Crowns 101

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A dental crown is a fixed prosthetic, or artificial cap, that is placed over your own damaged tooth. If your dentist has recommended a crown for one or more of your teeth, here is what you need to know.

What Steps Are Needed To Receive A Crown?

A crown will almost always require a minimum of two dental appointments. At the first appointment, the tooth will be assessed to determine which type of crown will work best for your situation. There are several different types your dentist can choose from:

Stainless Steel Crowns- These inexpensive silver-colored crowns are usually used on children's primary teeth. They are pre-fabricated, allowing the dentist to install the crown in the same visit. They are used to support a weakened baby tooth until it naturally falls out to make room for the permanent tooth underneath. By protecting it from decay, the underlying tooth is also protected.

Metal Crowns- These crowns can be made from gold or from an alloy, such as chromium and nickel. Metal crowns last a very long time, and they are easily placed without further damaging the underlying tooth or the adjacent teeth. Because of their metallic color, however, their use is usually reserved for back molars.

Tooth-Colored Crowns- These crowns may be made from resin, porcelain over metal, porcelain, or ceramic. Porcelain over metal and ceramic crowns look the most natural and are frequently used for front teeth, while resin is the least expensive tooth-colored crown option.

The tooth will be x-rayed to make certain a root canal procedure won't be needed before capping the tooth. Then the tooth will be filed down to make room for the cap to fit over the tooth and not damage the surrounding teeth. Putty will be used to take an impression of the tooth, which will then be sent to a dental lab, where the crown will be fashioned. A temporary stainless steel or acrylic crown will be placed to protect the tooth until the second appointment. At the follow-up appointment, the new crown will be permanently cemented in place.

What Care Is Needed For A Crown?

While the temporary crown is in place, you should avoid chewing gum or eating sticky foods, such as caramel. You will also want to avoid eating popcorn as a hull can easily become lodged under the crown. Once your permanent crown is in place, remember to care for it like you would one of your natural teeth; it is still subject to decay and gum disease. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Carpenter Dental.