What To Expect Before, During And After Your Dental Crown Application Appointment
If your tooth is badly chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged, your dentist may recommend covering it with a crown. Dental crowns are also applied to teeth that have had root canals in order to protect them from continued decay. The process of having a dental crown applied is pretty simple and nearly painless, but it's still nice to know what to expect as you head into this procedure.
Before Your Main Crown Application Appointment
You will likely have a first appointment with your dentist during which your tooth is prepared for the crown. If the tooth is decayed or has a large cavity, your dentist will likely drill away the decayed portion of the tooth. If the tooth is infected or abscessed, you will likely have a procedure called a root canal, in which the pulp is removed from the roots of your tooth and replaced with plasticized, artificial material. A mold will be made of your tooth, and this mold will be used to make your crown.
Local anesthetic is used if you have a root canal or decay removal procedure, so you won't feel a thing. You may be a bit sore after the procedure, but the soreness should be manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers and should dissipate within a day or two.
If you do have a root canal or a lot of decay removed, your dentist will likely fit your tooth with a temporary crown. Made from resin, this crown will protect your tooth. You can eat pretty much like normal with this temporary crown, but you should avoid overly sticky and chewy foods like caramels and jelly beans, and crunchy foods like nuts, as these may dislodge the crown.
During Your Crown Application
A few days after your initial crown prep appointment, you'll return to your dentist's office to have your crown put on. He or she will have had the crown made in the exact shape and size needed for your tooth.
The process of having a crown applied should be painless, since local anesthetic will again be used. Once you are numb, your dentist will put a dam in your mouth to keep saliva out of the way. A suction device may also be used. Cement will be placed on your tooth, and then the crown will be put into place.
After waiting a few minutes for the cement to harden, your dentist will use a file to smooth out any rough patches. You may be asked to bite down and grind your teeth onto a special piece of plastic, which shows which parts of your teeth touch. Your dentist will then use a file to adjust the way your teeth meet with the crown. When your bite is perfect, you're all finished.
After Your Crown Application
If you had an infection in your tooth, your dentist may have prescribed antibiotics after your first crown fitting appointment. If you're not done taking these, you may have to continue taking them for a few more days after you get your crown.
Your crown may feel a little strange in your mouth during the first few days with it. However, your tongue will get used to its new feeling, and soon, you won't notice it at all. You should not have any pain in the newly capped tooth. If you do, contact your dentist; this could be a sign of infection or a poor bite adjustment.
Your jaw may ache a little bit in the first day or two after having the crown applied. This is mostly due to having held your mouth open at the dentist. Holding some ice against the outside of your jaw should ease the ache. You can eat and drink everything you'd normally eat and drink after having your crown applied.
If you've never had a crown applied to a tooth before, it's normal to be a bit apprehensive about the procedure. However, there's really nothing to worry about. Dentists conduct this treatment all of the time, and anesthetic is used to make sure you never feel any pain.
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