Understanding Dental Crowns

What is a dental crown?

dental crown is also referred to as a “cap”, is a type of dental restoration that covers the tooth’s entire surface. Crowns are typically made from porcelain, metal alloys (metal-based), or high noble alloyed gold. While these materials allow for crown construction with a natural appearance and shade compatibility, they are also prone to corrosion, fracture, and wear. In the field of implant dentistry, implant-supported crowns have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their superior strength and resistance to environmental factors.

What is a dental crown preparation?

A dental crowns is a custom-made cover or “cap” that fits over a tooth. Crowns allow restoring the function and appearance of badly decayed teeth, severely damaged or affected by an infection.

Crown preparation (or “crown lengthening”) is required to ensure the adequate thickness of enamel over the tooth’s root before placement of the crown. If the amount of tooth structure removed during preparation is too great, the weakened tooth may become susceptible to fracture and need to be treated with a root canal.

Crown lengthening can cause sensitivity and discomfort, and people should expect some pain between 1-3 weeks after the procedure.

Many patients experience gum tissue discomfort, irritation, or soreness after preparing the tooth for a crown. This usually subsides within a week or two.

Why is a dental crown necessary?

Crowns are needed when there isn’t enough tooth structure remaining to provide strong support for a filling. Crowns can also be placed over weak teeth that have been restored with root canal therapy (a “post and core”).

Crowns prevent the prepared tooth from breaking, help restore its appearance and function, and provide support for a bridge or permanent retainer.

What happens during crown preparation surgery?

The dentist will numb the site using a local anaesthesia injection to minimize discomfort. If you are having surgery on your lower teeth, you may be given a sedative or general anaesthetic to ensure you remain comfortable during the procedure.

A tiny surgical drill called a “bur” is used to cut away some of the tooth’s enamel and underlying structure. This allows room for the new crown material, which will completely cover the tooth.

What happens after crown preparation surgery?

Most patients experience some mild swelling and discomfort for a few days after surgery. Your dentist will prescribe medication to help control any pain.

Swelling and discomfort will usually go away within a few days. However, if you experience prolonged swelling, contact your dentist.

It is normal to feel some tenderness when biting down for the first week or two after surgery. You can manage this by using an ice pack and taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.

To avoid infection and allow healing, your dentist may instruct you to pack the tooth with gauze after surgery. It would help if you changed the packing as directed until it no longer becomes blood-soaked from your saliva.

You can brush and floss normally after surgery, but do not disturb any dressing the dentist has placed on your gums. Also, avoid eating hard, crunchy food and sticky candy for a few days.

Crown preparation surgery typically takes about 15-30 minutes to complete at your dentist’s office.

You may experience some soreness, swelling, or tenderness in your mouth for a day or two after surgery. Your dentist will provide pain relievers to help you cope with the discomfort.

It may take around 2 to 3 weeks for the numbness caused by the anaesthetic to wear off after crown preparation. Still, most patients can resume their regular activities after a few days.

The gum tissue will slowly heal up and will usually begin to look normal within a week or two, although you may notice that your gums are slightly puffy for about four months after surgery.

It may take about six months for the area where the tooth was cut to heal completely. Your dentist may give you special instructions about how often to brush and floss your teeth during this time.

You should avoid chewing on the part of the tooth prepared for 6-8 weeks. As soon as you feel ready, you can start gently applying pressure with your tongue in the area where the tooth has been prepared.

You should be able to eat soft foods within a week of your surgery and resume your regular diet by the end of two weeks. However, your dentist may ask you to avoid sticky, hard, or crunchy foods for several additional weeks.

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