There is an odd irony in the U.S. We fought to break free from the monarchy of Britain. But now, 250 years later, we can’t get enough of the place. Downton Abbey was a huge hit on public TV. The Crown is one of Netflix’s bigger hits. And every Royal Wedding finds millions of Americans glued to their screen watching with glee.
At Implant Dentistry of Florida, Drs. Brown, Doan, and Vaughn follow the travails of Queen Elizabeth on Netflix as much as the next person, but we actually like another type of crown much better — dental crowns. We like crowns because they enable our patients to keep a tooth that is seriously in danger of needing to be extracted. Plus, crowns look great and they last for decades.
What is a crown?
If your Uncle Vern from Ithaca was visiting during the holidays, you may have heard him yammering about a failing “cap.” People used to call crowns caps because they were usually made of metal and they were highly visible. “Caps” covered the tooth, kind of like a baseball cap, hence the name.
It’s time to only call them crowns. Crowns completely cover the natural tooth, all the way down to the gumline. They are used when a tooth has extensive decay or damage and would likely need to be pulled if left on its own. By putting a crown onto the natural tooth, the tooth regains function and strength. Plus, the tooth doesn’t need to be pulled. Crowns can also be used for strictly cosmetic reasons, covering a tooth with serious staining or that is misshapen. Crowns are also the anchors for dental bridges, as the two teeth on each side of the missing tooth or teeth have crowns placed on them.
How do we place a crown?
For most dentists, placing a crown on a patient’s teeth requires two appointments separated by a couple of weeks. Not so at our Melbourne practice. We have CEREC, an acronym that stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (now you see why the acronym is used!). CEREC is a computer-aided design and computer-assisted manufacturing system (CAD/CAM) specifically for producing dental restorations of the highest quality. Thanks to CEREC, we can prepare the tooth for the crown, take measurements for the crown, mill it, and place it on your tooth all in a single appointment.
First, we prepare your tooth. This involves removing any damage, and then shaving down the healthy tooth enamel on all sides and on top. This makes room for the crown to sit over your natural tooth but to not take any more space than your natural tooth did. Next, we place a special powder on your tooth that is read by the CEREC system. It precisely measures your tooth, creating a 3D image. Using that 3D image, we design your crown in the CEREC system software. We then send that data to the CEREC milling station. The CEREC milling station takes a block of dental-grade porcelain and then mills your crown to the precise design specs we gave it. Milling takes about 30 minutes. When complete, we check the crown’s color match with your adjacent teeth, and we check the fit. If everything is good, we permanently cement the crown onto your tooth and you’re good to go.
Now your natural tooth has been saved from needing extraction. You can use it immediately and if you take better care of your teeth, your crown can last for decades.
Do you have a tooth with serious decay or damage? Call us at Implant Dentistry of Florida, (321) 372-7700, and let’s see if it could use a crown.