A dental crown is a type of oral appliance designed to look like a natural tooth. If your dentist needs to extract one of your teeth and replace it with an implant, he or she will need to put a crown on top of the implant. Crowns are also a solution for those who need a root canal. It protect the tooth as well as the nerves inside that tooth. Before getting your first crown, you may want to know more about what it entails and how you can prepare yourself for the procedure.
1- Temporary vs. Permanent Crown
Before meeting with your dentist, you should know the difference between a temporary crown and a permanent crown. The temporary crown is one that the dentist will use as a covering on top of your tooth after a root canal. Dentists may use temporary crowns until the laboratory can make a permanent device. It usually takes a few weeks before you get a permanent crown.
2- Choosing the Right Material
Dentists can make crowns from a variety of different materials, including zirconia, metal or a porcelain material fused to metal or zirconia. Many patients opt for porcelain because the dentist can add coloring to the porcelain to make it look like any other teeth in their mouths. Metal is often the cheapest material but can look out of place when you smile.
3- Relax Before Your Appointment
Even if you don’t have a fear of the dentist, you might develop one after going through the steps it takes to get a crown. Talking with your dentist and explaining all the fears that you have can help you feel more comfortable during your appointment. Your dentist may recommend some treatments that will help you relax and calm down too like getting an anti-anxiety medication. Try to relax both before you head to the office and while sitting in the waiting room. Watching a movie or listening to music on your phone through headphones is a good way to get a handle on your nerves.
4- Multiple Appointments
If you think that you can get a crown in just one appointment, you should really talk to your dentist about what the procedure actually entails. The first appointment is when the dentist takes an x-ray or series of x-rays and examines your teeth to determine if you need a crown. You may need to make an appointment in the future for either an extraction or a root canal. Both procedures require that you go under anesthesia that keeps you calm and that you stick to softer foods for a few hours or longer. The dentist will require additional appointments to take an impression of your tooth, put in the temporary crown and remove the old crown before putting in a new one.
5- After the Procedure
Once you get a permanent crown, you shouldn’t experience any pain. You may experience some mild discomfort that lasts until you grow accustomed to that crown. Some dentists will send patients home with a gel that has a high level of fluoride, which you’ll apply directly to the tooth. If you experience more discomfort or pain, you should make a follow up appointment.
6- Foods to Avoid
Though there aren’t any foods that you can’t eat with a dental crown, there are some foods that you’ll want to avoid. Hot foods like stews, soups and coffee can cause discomfort because the crown doesn’t completely cover the tooth or because your gums are sensitive. Cold foods and foods that are high in sugar like candy or cookies can cause some discomfort too, especially in the first few days after getting a crown.
7- When a Crown Breaks
A permanent crown may not actually be permanent and may not last as long as you would like. When you chew on crunchy or hard ingredients, you risk the crown chipping or cracking. This happens more often with crowns made entirely from porcelain than those made from other materials. If the crown does not fit properly or the cement underneath the tool suffers damage, the crown can also fall out of your mouth. You’ll want to keep the crown in a safe place and follow up with your dentist.
Knowing more about a dental crown, including what happens during the procedure and how you can relax, will help you feel more comfortable about getting one.