If you’ve ever chipped or cracked one of your teeth, you know just how much that tiny flaw can affect your life. In addition to causing pain, such imperfections can change your smile and sap your confidence in social settings. At North Bend Dental Care in North Bend, Washington, Dr. Chris J. Allemand has the expertise and experience it takes to restore problematic teeth to their normal shape and size. He provides restorative services, including crowns, to patients from the eastern suburbs of Seattle.

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What are dental crowns?

A dental crown, which is also called a cap, is used to restore the strength and/or appearance to a tooth that’s severely worn, cracked, weak, or severely discolored. A crown can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling if there isn’t enough remaining tooth tissue to hold the filling properly. Crowns can also be used to restore a cracked or chipped tooth, or to protect a tooth that’s prone to breaking. If you ever have a dental implant, a crown will be used to cap it off and give the appearance of a natural, healthy tooth. Crowns may also be used to:

  • Attach a bridge (multiple replacement teeth fixed into place)
  • Repair a tooth that’s been worn down by grinding
  • Replace a misshapen or severely discolored tooth

What does a crown procedure involve?

Getting a dental crown typically requires two visits. During your first visit, Dr. Allemand will start by numbing the area around the tooth that’s receiving the crown. Then after removing any old restorations or decay from the tooth, he’ll file it down to prepare it for the crown.

If you have any cavities in the area, he’ll fill them before taking an impression of your tooth to send to the dental lab, where crowns are custom-made by highly trained technicians.

At the end of your first visit, Dr. Allemand will make a temporary crown and secure it to your tooth.

During your second appointment, Dr. Allemand will remove the temporary crown, fit your permanent crown, and then cement it into place.

Will my crown look natural?

Yes. In addition to making a customized crown from an impression of your tooth to make sure that the crown fits just right, Dr. Allemand will also consider the color, bite, shape, and length of your natural teeth.

How should I care for my crown?

While the average crown lasts for about five to eight years, they can actually last much longer with good oral hygiene and regular dental care. Certain habits, however, such as chewing on ice or grinding your teeth, can significantly reduce the life of your crown. To protect your crown from cracking, avoid biting down on ice or hard foods, and wear a mouthguard if you tend to grind your teeth at night.

It’s also important to continue to brush and floss twice a day and use floss or interdental cleaning devices to remove plaque from the area where the crown meets your gums. Solid oral hygiene is particularly important if your crown is covering a natural tooth because that tooth is still prone to tooth decay.