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Here at Polles Center for General and Cosmetic Dentistry we have repaired countless teeth through the creation and installation of caps and crowns. These artificial tooth surfaces not only resemble the patient's natural teeth, but they may in fact improve on the original appearance of crooked, worn or deeply stained teeth.
Caps and dental crowns are actually two different terms describing the same appliance -- a porcelain "tooth" generally built over a metal base and then affixed to the natural tooth. Caps and crowns provide a variety of benefits, some of them necessary for ongoing dental health. For instance, a root canal procedure may leave a large hole in the chewing surface of the tooth, allowing dangerous bacteria a point of entry. If the gap is large enough to weaken the tooth structure and/or receive a filling, the dentist will typically prescribe a crown.
Caps and crowns may also prove necessary for teeth that have sustained deep cracks or other types of breakage. Some patients opt for them to repair healthy but severely jagged or discolored teeth, especially when teeth whitening or other restorative dentistry methods will not provide lasting cosmetic solutions. A dental crown can last for many years before it needs replacing, and the porcelain surface of the restored tooth is invulnerable to bacterial decay. Crowns and caps can also improve an incorrect bite, the cause of many cases of TMJ.
Installation of caps and crowns generally involves two or more dental sessions. Our dentist, Dr. Polles, files down the tooth in question to make a shape that can support the crown. He then takes a precise impression of the reshaped tooth by covering it in a mold-making material that takes about five minutes to set. After removing this material, a temporary crown made of stainless steel or acrylic plastic is fitted onto the natural tooth nub and secured with cement; the patient will use this temporary crown while a permanent crown is being created in the dental lab. When the permanent crown is ready, the patient returns for removal of the temporary crown. The permanent crown is checked for proper look and feel, with the dentist polishing it or making other minor adjustments as needed. It is then cemented onto the tooth with stronger cement that that used for the temporary crown.
Caps and crowns should not cause pain or discomfort, especially on a tooth that has already had its nerve removed due to root canal surgery. Some patients report increased sensitivity to temperature, but this symptom fades over time. Experiencing pain when biting may indicate that the permanent crown needs some additional minor adjustment. We encourage anyone who needs caps and crowns to visit our family dentistry clinic for an evaluation. We can perform the procedure either on its own or in conjunction with teeth whitening, root canals or other forms of dental care.
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