For patients with teeth that have been badly discolored or damaged, or have gaps where teeth are missing, or have damage like cracks and chips that have caused structural instability, dental crowns might be right for you.
A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over the remaining portion of a tooth after the decayed or damaged part has been removed. It is usually the final step in root canal therapy. Crowns are carefully crafted to fit the shape and color of surrounding teeth, so your smile looks and feels natural. They can also be used to restore dental implants if you have lost a single tooth.
A crown can usually be installed in two or three visits. At the first visit the existing tooth is prepared to receive the crown and an impression is make of the prepared tooth. This helps ensure a perfect fit when your permanent crown is being made. During the 2 to 3 week process, your doctor will install a temporary crown.
At the next visit your new crown will be final fitted and installed over the previously prepared tooth. Once installed, you should be able to resume normal activities as soon as you are comfortable. In some cases, or when many crowns are installed, an additional visit might be necessary to adjust the fit and finish of your crown. It is important to understand that dental crowns cannot last forever. Most crowns last for about seven years. You can extend the lifespan of your crown with good dental hygiene and by avoiding chewing sticky or very hard foods right against the crown.