Crowns may be fitted over teeth for many reasons: to help improve tooth color, to repair a tooth after it has been chipped, to help strengthen a fragile or weak tooth, or as anchor supports for bridges. Crowns can be made of metals but are more often ceramic or porcelain to allow them to match the color of your natural teeth.
Crowning a tooth is normally done in two visits. During the first visit, the tooth or teeth to be crowned will be sculpted down to allow the crowns to fit onto them. Then, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth so the permanent crown can be accurately created in the lab. Finally, he/she will place a temporary crown over your tooth.
A couple weeks later, you will return for your permanent crown. The temporary will be removed, and the permanent fitted into place. The dentist will ensure the crown is fitted properly and does not interfere with your bite before your leave.
Often crowns are needed as supports for bridges. Bridges are one or more fake teeth that fill a gap where teeth are missing. Bridges look like real teeth but are connected to crowns on either side of them. If you need a bridge, the teeth on either side of the gap will be fitted with crowns to hold the bridge in place. The procedure to fit a bridge is very similar to fitting crowns, except the dentist will take an impression of the area with the missing teeth as well, and you will receive a temporary bridge while you wait for your permanent to be created.
Bridges take special care to clean since they are not removed from your mouth like dentures, but are a single piece. Be sure you understand the proper way to care for your new bridge before you leave our offices.