If you have a broken or missing tooth, the decision to get a dental crown can make a big impact on your life. Not only will a dental crown restore and strengthen a damaged tooth, but you'll also gain confidence with the appearance of your smile. Learning about what to expect before your appointment is an essential part of the process. As the day of your dental crown placement draws near, here are some important things that you should do to ensure that you are well-prepared for the procedure.
1) Understand what the entire process entails.
Since a dental crown is made for your specific tooth, the process generally consists of several steps. Your dentist will examine your tooth and take X-rays to get an accurate picture of the extent of the tooth's damage. Your tooth will be filed down slightly before your dentist uses a special material to make an impression of the affected area. The impression will then be sent to a lab where the permanent crown is fabricated. A temporary cap will be placed on your tooth to keep it safe in the meantime. Your new crown will arrive a week or two later, and you'll need to return to your dentist's office to have the crown firmly secured to your tooth. While it is possible to get a temporary crown placed in just one visit, you should plan on going back to see your dentist at least one more time after the initial examination to finalize a permanent crown. It's a good idea to ask your dentist for details about your particular procedure so that you know exactly what will happen and when each step will occur during the overall process.
2) Select the right material for your crown.
Most dentists will offer a few different materials for your crown. To help you decide which option is best for you, your dentist can make recommendations based upon the affected tooth, any allergies you have, and whether or not you grind your teeth at night. The most common crown materials are porcelain and gold. Porcelain crowns appear the most natural because they look just like real teeth. Porcelain is also ideal if you want a solution that doesn't contain metal material. However, porcelain is also not as durable as gold, and these kinds of crowns are not compatible if you regularly grind your teeth. Gold crowns, on the other hand, are very strong and typically take a long time to wear down. If your damaged tooth is in the back of your mouth, a gold crown is a good choice. There are some definite drawbacks to gold crowns though, including allergic reactions and the inability to look like an actual tooth. Ask your dentist for suggestions that will best fit your situation.
3) Be ready for the aftercare of your new dental crown.
Once your dental crown procedure is completed, some valuable post-operative measures will keep your new crown safely in place and minimize your discomfort. For 24 hours after the procedure, do not eat crunchy foods that may break your crown or anything chewy that could stick to your crown and pull it out of position. Gently clean your teeth with a soft toothbrush, and use a careful sliding motion when you floss. Your dentist may also give you a special mouthwash to rinse with for a few days after the procedure. If you notice tenderness or swelling, over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage soreness as your tooth heals. Following these simple aftercare steps can greatly reduce pain and keep infection at bay.
If it's time for you to get a dental crown, be sure to use these tips to properly prepare. Now that you know more about the process, you can rest assured that your dental crown procedure will be an easy and stress-free experience.