When a tooth becomes weakened to the point that it can’t safely hold a filling, or if a tooth is cracked, chipped, or fractured, a porcelain crown can return its strength and appearance. The crown saves the tooth, eliminating the need for extraction and a replacement such as an implant.
As the name suggests, a crown fits over the entire area of the tooth above the gum line, restoring the original size and shape of the tooth, and more importantly, giving it strength. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials: gold alloy, dental composite, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or all porcelain. Dr. Fong uses only porcelain crowns in his practice.
What is a crown?
A crown covers the entire visible portion of the damaged tooth. They are also used as anchors (abutments) for bridges, placed on the teeth on each side of the gap. At one time, crowns were often referred to as “caps.” This was when they were primarily made of gold alloy. They name came from the way a crown covers the visible portion of the tooth, not unlike a cap and your hair. Gold caps were very visible, unlike today’s porcelain crowns, which look just like a natural tooth. Crowns are fabricated in a dental lab based off of impressions taken after some of the natural tooth is removed to make room for the overlying crown. Dr. Fong believes porcelain provides the best combination of strength and appearance.
When is a porcelain crown needed?
Dr. Fong places a crown when the tooth has lost strength and is in danger of needing to be extracted. Crowns are also anchors for bridges, and they can be used as an aesthetic covering over a tooth with cosmetic problems. Crowns are excellent options for the following problems:
- Chipped teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth with large fillings
- Severely worn teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Severely discolored teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Teeth with fractured fillings
- The teeth on both sides of a bridge
How is a crown placed?
Placing a crown requires two appointments with Dr. Fong. During the first appointment, any decay and damaged tooth material is removed from the tooth. Next, the healthy exterior of the tooth is shaved down slightly to create room for the crown. We then take impressions and photographs of your teeth to create a blueprint for the lab to use to manufacture your crown. The lab needs to make the crown to the shape of your overall tooth, plus it needs to match the color of the adjacent teeth. Fabricating your crown takes around two weeks, so we place a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is finished.
When your crown is finished, you return for your second appointment. Dr. Fong cleans your teeth and then checks your new porcelain crown for fit and for the match to the adjacent teeth. If need be, he’ll adjust the underlying tooth or shave a bit from the crown. Once both of you are satisfied, the crown is cemented permanently onto your tooth and you’re finished. No recovery is needed, as you can eat normal foods as soon as you leave our offices.
Do you have a tooth that is damaged? A porcelain crown with Dr. Fong can save it and make it beautifully functional for the long haul. Call Dr. Fong at (714) 549-1903 to schedule a consultation.