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WHAT IS A DENTAL CROWN? Answers from McCarl Dental Group

June 20, 2010 in Cosmetic Dentistry,Dental Crowns and Bridges,Dentistry by McCarl Dental Group

A crown fits over and restores a decayed, broken, or weak tooth and becomes the tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns may be made of all porcelain, all metal, or a metal base covered with a thin layer of porcelain. The shade or color selected may match the neighboring teeth to blend in, or a different shade may be chosen to brighten your smile.

Reasons you may need a crown:
•    Repair teeth that have broken or decayed so much that your dentist cannot fix them with a filling.
•    Cover a tooth that is so severely damaged that most of the top layer had to be removed.
•    Replace a worn or cracked filling.
•    Improve the appearance of a tooth.
•    Strengthen a tooth after root canal treatment to seal the tooth and prevent it from breaking.
•    Crowns sometimes come loose over time, and you may need to get them re-cemented or replaced.  With proper care a crown can last for many years and will function the same as any healthy tooth.

At the Greenbelt and Millersville dental offices of McCarl Dental Group we recommend all-porcelain crowns for front teeth because they look and function like natural teeth. The use of all-porcelain crowns eliminates gum irritation associated with metal allergies and is healthier for gums because it is not necessary to place the crown deep under the gum line to hide the metal. All-porcelain restorations used for cosmetic dentistry require very sophisticated design software and pressing ovens used only by the highest quality dental laboratories.

There are many ways to make a crown. Porcelain can be added as one color only, all at once, and fired in the furnace, or can be added in layers with a variety of colors to more closely mimic natural teeth. The labor time and skill level for fabricating porcelain crowns are considerably higher in the highest quality crowns. High end Dental Technicians are artists, using their color palette of wet porcelains to copy the shade and shape chosen by the dental patient and dentist. They use a technique called “layering” in which they bake the porcelain in the shape of the tooth and then “cut it back” and layer in different shades of porcelain which adds vitality to the crown. The highest quality porcelains have the finest grain size, which creates a more aesthetic and natural looking crown. The high end, fine grain porcelains also prevent wearing away of the enamel of the opposing teeth, a problem that may occur with lower cost porcelains.

You will typically need two visits to your dentist to restore your tooth with the highest quality crown. During your first visit, your dentist will make sure you are comfortable by using any of the many local anesthetic techniques available. The dentist will remove any decay or unsound tooth structure and prepare the tooth for a crown by shaping it with his/her headpiece (drill). If you received an injection, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the anesthetic wears off and you should be careful to avoid biting your numb lip or cheek.

An impression of your teeth or a digitally scanned image will be used to create a model for construction of the crown. While the dental laboratory is making your permanent crown, your tooth will be covered with a temporary crown. On your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown, try in the permanent crown, check the fit and bite, make any minor adjustments necessary and cement your permanent crown.

We have had photographs taken of more than 20 McCarl dental patients who have porcelain crowns or veneers and have volunteered to share their beautiful smiles.  The dentists at McCarl Dental Group always explain treatment options and get input from dental patients during the planning process so that they can meet and exceed dental treatment goals.

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8601 Veterans Hwy, Suite 101, Millersville, MD 21108 USA
Dr. Clayton McCarl, Jr. Millersville, MD cosmetic, restorative, & preventive dentistry.
28 Ridge Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770 USA
Dr. Clayton McCarl, Jr. Greenbelt, MD cosmetic, restorative, & preventive dentistry. (301) 474-4144