When people think about dental crowns, their minds often go to tooth injuries and other significant problems. However, it's entirely possible that if you come into the dentist's office with a cavity that you might need to go home with a crown. Here's why.
Why a Crown Might Be Necessary
Most people get their cavities taken care of fairly quickly. This is because soon after the cavity starts to develop, it typically becomes painful as it encroaches on the nerves in the tooth. However, for whatever reason, some people won't notice the pain or will be able to tolerate it rather than seeking out help as early as they can.
When a cavity is allowed to progress like this, it just keeps chewing its way through the tooth. Instead of just damaging the dental enamel on the outside of the tooth, it can pulverize through the pulp and dentin, destroying the deeper structures. Unfortunately, all of the parts of the tooth are necessary for the tooth to be able to stand up to the extreme pressure of biting and chewing. If you didn't have the pulp and dentin inside the tooth anymore, your tooth would probably just collapse after a few bites or after grinding your teeth.
Dental crowns help with this by providing an extra layer of protection over your tooth. By putting the crown over the top, the crown absorbs the majority of the pressure that would have otherwise been exerted on the tooth. This keeps the tooth intact.
What to Expect
Getting a dental crown for a cavity is a pretty easy process to go through. Chances are you'll need to go to the dentist's office twice, but that's about the only difficult part of it. When you go in to have your cavity drilled, your dentist will examine the tooth with X-rays to determine how deeply it goes. If it's decided that you need a crown, your dentist will first remove all the damaged parts of the tooth, going as deep as is necessary. This will be done under local anesthesia so you won't feel anything.
Once all the damage is removed, the tooth will be filled like it ordinarily would after a cavity is drilled. This is to prevent any bacteria or debris from getting into the tooth and to help provide one extra layer of strength to keep the tooth strong.
You'll be then given a temporary dental crown. This won't be perfectly molded to match your teeth, but not to worry—this crown is only to keep the tooth sealed off while your custom crown is manufactured. Once it's ready the old crown will be removed and the new one will be put on, and you'll be able to go back to your everyday routine without any problems.