Severe tooth decay can cause significant damage to the enamel of a single tooth. This can seriously compromise your ability to chew and potentially give you an unappealing smile. A large area of decay might not leave enough healthy enamel for your dentist to anchor a filling. In a situation like this, the dentist will usually recommend the tooth be fitted for a crown.
A crown essentially is essentially a cap made from an artificial material. It is designed to replace the majority of the enamel of a 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.
Being fitted for a crown usually takes two separate appointments.
At the first appointment, the dentist will usually take a series of x-rays to assess the health of the tooth and the root. 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.
They will then use a drill to remove the majority of the tooth enamel, leaving behind just enough enamel to protect the pulp of the tooth. This small stub or post is called an abutment.
The dentist will take an impression of the area. 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.
When your new crown is completed the dentist will replace your temporary crown with the permanent crown, at a brief second appointment.
If you have a tooth with severely damaged enamel or concerns that you might need a crown, please feel free to call us at 312.551.0500 to schedule an appointment.