Well, I needed my first crown. Since I have completed hundreds myself, there was no question in my mind about how a crown is made, but interestingly having a crown from a patient’s perspective – caused even more of a mission for me to communicate how a patient feels during the procedure.
Don’t Put it Off
When a tooth is diagnosed for a crown, it has a compromised structure. This means that it could easily crack or in my case, crack even further. This puts the tooth at risk for:
1. additional procedures such as crown lengthening
2. possible root canal therapy and crown buildup
3. fracturing the root – causing loss of tooth
4. additional wear on surrounding teeth
5. tooth sensitivity or aching
Additional procedures mean additional time, cost and possible discomfort when you least expect it.
Choosing a Dentist – Get it Right
Having a dental team that is patient centric is key. I already knew that my dentist used a painless injection technique so there would be every effort to keep me comfortable during the entire visit. This is essential!
During the Visit
Sitting still for about an hour was the most difficult part of the procedure in my opinion. The clinical team did have expectations to get the job done as quickly as possible, but also did not cut any corners when it came to steps needed for creating the best result in the end. After the painless numbing of the tooth, I waited about 10 minutes while the team made additional preparations and set aside the next 30-40 minutes to spend directly with me.
An impression was made of the tooth to allow for a quick fabrication of a “temporary crown”. This was what I would wear for 2 weeks while the porcelain crown was made. After feeling numb, the tooth was shaped and prepared using water spray. Once completed, another impression was made. Plenty of medicaments were used to reduce tooth sensitivity. A temporary crown was made and inserted to fit for the next two weeks.
My assistant worked on making sure the temporary crown was comfortable for chewing. She cleaned carefully around the crown. Being a dentist, I already knew how to clean around the temporary – but she would teach this to most patients, an important step to keeping the area comfortable and healthy.
Then she would explain that after 2 weeks, the temporary would be removed, the area cleaned, and the final crown would be inserted, fitted by adjusting if needed, and cemented back to place for the duration.
After the Crown
When the final crown was seated to place, it was amazingly smooth and just like my old tooth surface. the area around the gums was sore for a couple of days, but with diligent flossing, the soreness went away. Admittedly, I am better now at flossing around my new crown than I was before it was made. Keeping the edges clean and the gums around it healthy will ensure that it lasts as many years as possible. I really appreciate my new crown!