crown smileCrowns are exactly what they sound like: They “crown” an existing tooth that’s been filed and re-shaped to serve as a foundation. The teeth might be damaged or simply not very aesthetically pleasing. Almost any healthy tooth can be turned into a crown foundation, with the key word being “healthy.” A tooth that’s unhealthy beyond repair may need to be extracted, in which case a dental implant, bridge or denture will be a better solution.

If you’re interested in crowns solely for aesthetic reasons, talk to your dentist about your concerns. Once enamel has been filed away from a tooth, you can’t get it back. Crowns are a semi-permanent solution. Just like your real teeth, they can potentially be damaged and may need to be repaired or replaced in the future. However, it’s ideal that a crown lasts forever—just like your real teeth.

The Crowning Touch 

Unlike invasive procedures like dental implants, crowns are a quick and painless procedure that usually requires two appointments. In the first appointment, the healthy tooth is re-shaped so it becomes the best possible foundation for the crown. You might receive a “bond,” or temporary tooth, during this appointment. Bonds look quite a bit like finished crowns, but aren’t nearly as secure (you might experience some wobbling while eating with bonds).

Impressions of your tooth are taken and sent to a lab to create your crown. Crowns are crafted to look, feel and act just like your whitest white. It might be recommended that you get a cleaning and even tooth whitening before a crown, depending on where the crown will be placed. For instance, if it’s a front tooth that’s highly visible, you want to make sure the crown is matched to your cleanest, whitest white.

It takes about one week for crowns to arrive back from the lab. During your second appointment, the crown is permanently sealed onto the “tooth foundation” and tested for strength and “floss-ability.” Your dentist will want you to have just enough space between the crown and surrounding teeth to make it possible to floss and brush well.