Many patients feel anxious when they learn that they need their first dental crowns. Without previous experience, people don’t know what to expect when getting dental crowns. The lack of knowledge often makes anxiety even more intense for patients.
Instead of dreading your visit, you can learn about the steps involved in getting a crown. When you learn about the procedure, you eliminate surprises and have a chance to mentally prepare for the experience.
First off, know that millions of people have dental crowns. They all survived the experience. You will, too! In fact, it’s probably a lot less involved than you think.
1. Numbing the Area to Prevent Pain
When you come to the dentist, expect to get a local anesthetic that will numb your tooth and the surrounding area. The most painful part is getting a shot in your mouth. Most people describe the sensation as a strong pinch. It only lasts a second. You can handle it easily!
2. Making an Impression
Your doctor needs to make a couple of accurate impressions of your tooth. The impressions get sent to a dental laboratory that fabricates crowns and other dental products.
To make the impression, you will have to bite down. Since you probably can’t feel anything near your tooth, trust your doctor to tell you how much pressure to use.
If you’re getting a porcelain crown, then your doctor will also use this opportunity to choose a shade that matches your natural teeth.
3. Prepping the Tooth for the Crown
Once you get your crown, it will fit over your tooth to create a seal that blocks bacteria. The crown has a hollow area that secures to your original tooth.
Before you can have the crown attached, though, your dentist will need to shape your tooth to fit inside the crown. During this process, your dentist may also remove cavities and old fillings that you don’t need anymore.
This step usually takes more time than the rest of the process. Your dentist has to use tools carefully and precisely. By the time it’s over, you may have a slight ache in your jaw. Other than some boredom, though, you shouldn’t experience any negative feelings.
4. Making the Final Impression
After shaping your tooth, your doctor will make a final impression. This impression will get used to form the inside of your crown.
5. Waiting for the Crown
After your dentist sends the impressions to a dental laboratory, you can expect to wait about a week for your crown to arrive. The exact amount of time varies depending on your location and which lab your dentist uses.
Your dentist can approximate how long it will take for your crown to arrive. While you wait, you’ll wear a temporary crown that gets attached before you leave the office.
6. Getting Your Crown Attached
When your crown arrives, you go back to the dentist to get it attached. Your dentist will numb the area, remove the temporary crown, and cement the permanent crown over your tooth. A lot of adjustments get made during this part of the process, but you won’t notice them. It will feel like most times that a dentist’s fingers are in your mouth.
7. Checking for Perfection
Before you leave the office, your dentist will double-check the permanent crown to make sure it fits perfectly.
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After getting your crown, you should avoid hard foods for a week or so. If you anything feels off about the tooth or your bite, call your dentist to have the problem addressed as soon as possible.