Ensuring that a dental crown fits properly is a critical aspect of restorative dentistry. A well-fitting crown not only restores the tooth’s function and aesthetics but also contributes to the overall oral health and comfort of the patient. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps involved in making sure a crown fits perfectly, from initial preparations to the final placement.
Dental Examination and Assessment: The process of ensuring a crown fits accurately begins with a thorough dental examination. The dentist assesses the condition of the affected tooth and determines whether a crown is the appropriate treatment option. X-rays and other diagnostic tools may be used to evaluate the tooth’s root, surrounding bone, and overall oral health. If the original tooth is cracked, chipped, or broken, or if the tooth requires a filling that is too large, the dentist will likely decide that a crown is necessary.
Tooth Preparation: Once the decision to place a crown is made, the tooth must be prepared to accommodate the restoration. During this stage, the dentist removes any decayed or damaged portions of the tooth using a dental drill. He then cleans out the tooth and fills any remaining empty spots with gutta-percha. The tooth is then reshaped to create space for the crown, and any sharp parts are smoothed to make sure that the rest of the mouth is not at risk of being cut or scraped. This is done while maintaining the correct occlusion with adjacent and opposing teeth.
Taking Impressions: After tooth preparation, the dentist takes precise impressions of the prepared tooth and the surrounding area. Traditionally, this involves using a special putty that is placed in a tray and inserted into the patient’s mouth. Digital scanning technology has also become increasingly popular, enabling dentists to create accurate 3D impressions of the tooth using a handheld wand and computer software to capture the images.
Temporary Crown Placement: While waiting for the permanent crown to be fabricated, the dentist places a temporary crown over the prepared tooth. The temporary crown is made of acrylic or a metallic material and is fitted to the patient’s gums using temporary dental cement. The temporary crown protects the tooth from sensitivity and further damage. It also helps maintain the proper spacing and occlusion until the permanent crown is ready. However, it is not customized, so it will not fit as well as the permanent crown and may need filling to improve the fit.
Selecting the Crown Material: The choice of crown material is essential in ensuring a proper fit and aesthetic appeal. Crowns can be made from various materials such as all-ceramic, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), all-metal (gold or other alloys), and zirconia. The dentist and patient will discuss the options, considering factors like strength, appearance, and cost, to select the most suitable material. The patient’s dental habits are a big factor in selecting the appropriate material for the crown.
Custom Fabrication by the Dental Lab: The impressions or digital scans are sent to a dental laboratory where skilled technicians use the data to create a custom-made crown. The lab technicians carefully consider the tooth’s size, shape, and color to ensure the crown fits harmoniously within the patient’s natural dentition.
Try-In Appointment: Once the dental lab completes the permanent crown, the dentist schedules a try-in appointment. During this visit, the dentist places the crown on the prepared tooth without permanently cementing it. This step allows the dentist to check the fit, color, and alignment of the crown. The dentist carefully assesses how well the crown fits the prepared tooth. The margins of the crown should meet the tooth snugly, leaving no gaps or overhangs that could lead to bacterial accumulation or discomfort. The dentist also evaluates the crown’s contact with adjacent teeth and ensures the patient’s bite remains balanced.
Aesthetics Evaluation: The try-in appointment also serves as an opportunity to evaluate the crown’s aesthetics. The dentist and patient work together to ensure the crown’s color, shape, and size blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural teeth. Any necessary adjustments can be communicated to the dental lab at this stage. If everything looks perfect, the dentist proceeds with the final placement of the crown. The tooth is cleaned, and the crown is permanently cemented onto the prepared tooth surface.
Post-Placement Checkup: After the crown is placed, the dentist schedules a follow-up appointment to monitor the patient’s progress. This checkup allows the dentist to ensure the crown is functioning correctly, the patient’s bite is comfortable, and there are no signs of complications or discomfort.
Long-term Care and Maintenance: Although dental crowns are designed to be durable, they are not indestructible. Patients should avoid habits like chewing on hard objects, grinding their teeth, or using their teeth as tools to prevent damage to the crown. The importance of this information should be clearly communicated to the patient.
In sum, the achievement of a proper crown fit involves a meticulous process, starting with accurate assessments, tooth preparation, and impression-taking. Collaboration between the dentist and dental lab technicians is crucial in creating a custom crown that fits seamlessly within the patient’s dentition.
This is where Premier Dental Arts shines. Our dental lab professionals can work closely with you for the perfect crown. Give our dental lab professionals a call at (888) 732-5221, or contact us online today.