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What are Dental Crowns and How Do They Work?

In essence, dental crowns are the fixed prosthetic restorations used to restore a damaged tooth and bring it back to its original size and shape. Dental crowns are cemented permanently on teeth that are extensively decayed, damaged, or cracked.

While dental crowns can sometimes extend onto the tooth’s root surface, they are designed to replace the outer aspect of the natural tooth or the “crown.” Once affixed, it will fully encase the portion that sits above the gum line.

Dental crowns are custom made so it fits over the tooth. They can be made from a variety of materials including resin, gold, ceramics, and porcelain-and-metal.


When are dental crowns necessary?

Dental crowns serve several functions. For instance, they are used to restore broken teeth, protect weak teeth, and prevent cracked teeth from further damage. In addition,  some dental crown variants are also used to hold dental bridges in place. In other words, a dental crown replaces or supports a structure that will no longer work on its own.

For teeth that are broken, misshapen, cracked, and badly damaged, dental crowns are considered the best solution. Designed to look like the natural teeth, dental crowns won’t stand out or look odd since they are made to appear just like any of the other natural teeth.

Dental crowns also restore the functionality, strength, shape, and appearance of a tooth that’s damaged. Once in place, dental crowns can help ensure you’ll be able to use the affected tooth for chewing without compromising its structural integrity.

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How do dental crowns work?

Dental crowns are fitted over the top of the tooth so it protects what’s underneath. Once cemented in place, they will serve as the new top for the tooth, keeping it from breaking apart and holding it together.

Since dental crowns are made from durable and resilient materials, they are able to effectively endure the traumas of chewing just as efficiently as the natural teeth.


How are dental crowns installed?

Before affixing the dental crown, your dentist will apply an anaesthetic to numb the tooth as well as the surrounding gum tissue. A dental drill and an abrasive bur will be used to remove the tooth’s outer surface so enough room for the crown will be available.

If there’s not much of the tooth left that’s enough to support the crown, a crown buildup may be added to ensure there is a solid foundation for the crown. An impression of the tooth will be taken using putty, impression paste, or a digital scanner. It is then sent to a dental laboratory to be created.

Typically, it will take approximately 2 to 3 weeks for the crown to be created after the impression has been sent. Since it is not advisable to leave the tooth uncovered for long periods, a temporary dental crown may be installed for the time being.

When the permanent dental crown is already available, the temporary one will be removed and the permanent crown will be affixed. It will also be adjusted accordingly so it fits the tooth and bite properly. A special cement will be used to affix the dental crown to the tooth. After the cement cures, the crown will be firmly attached to the tooth.

Dr. Gerald Tan