A small area of tooth decay that is left unresolved will continue to advance compromising a large amount of enamel. This can seriously compromise your ability to chew and also mar you smile. A large area of decay might not leave enough healthy enamel for your dentist to repair the tooth with a basic filling. In a situation like this, the dentist will usually recommend the tooth be fitted for a crown.
A crown is made from an artificial material like gold, base metals or porcelain. It is designed to replace the enamel of the tooth. Your dentist will recommend the best material for your crown based on its primary function in your mouth and its relationship to your smile.
A crown usually requires two separate appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will take some x-rays to make sure the pulp and root of the tooth is still healthy. If the area of decay has advanced to infect the root, the dentist might need to perform a root canal before they can mount a crown.
Assuming the root is sound they will then use a drill to remove the majority of the tooth enamel. They leave behind just enough enamel to protect the dentin and root. This small stub or post is called an abutment.
The dentist will create an impression of the abutment and the surrounding teeth. This will be sent to a dental lab where your crown is created from the appropriate materials. The dentist will then cover the tooth with a temporary crown to keep it protect the abutment in the interim.
Once your new crown is completed the dentist will call you in for a brief second appointment. The temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown, is cemented in place.
If you have a tooth with severely damaged enamel or concerns that you might need a crown, please feel free to call us at 310-286-2241 to schedule an appointment.