Dental Crown Procedure: Prep, Sessions, and Final Result

dental crown procedure
Table of Contents

Anesthesia: Topical and local

Tooth preparation: 4-5 hours

Sessions: Minimum 2

Treatment depth: Invasive

Fitting Session: 1-2 hours

Type of Procedure: Cosmetic 

A dental crown procedure is a long, but in the end, satisfying aesthetic treatment. Dental crowns have a high global demand due to their almost 94% success rate. Whether because of tooth decay, injury, dysfunction, or simply a desire to get the smile of your dreams, you can get a dental crown.

Not only do dental crowns help you get the smile you wish to have, but they also help preserve your natural teeth below them.

This article will explain how the procedure runs.

  • The dental crown procedure lasts roughly 5-7 hours
  • Dental crown is considered cosmetic
  • The procedure might take days or weeks for your crown to be ready
  • It will take at least two dentist visits for you to be done with a dental crown procedure
  • Same-day crowns only require one visit
  • Your crowns will need replacement in time
  • Children can also get crowns

And now, let’s begin our detailed journey of how a dental crown procedure proceeds!

DENTAL CROWN PROCEDURE STEPS

Steps of the Dental Crown Procedure

Generally, a dental crown procedure has 3 steps: preparation, cutting, and crown placement. However, here’s a more vivid and detailed exposition of the dental implant procedure.

  • Step 1: Consultation
  • Step 2: Pre-op Impressions
  • Step 3. Preparation
  • Step 4: Impressions and Selections
  • Step 5: The fitting Session
  • Step 6: Placing the Crowns
  • Step 7: Polishing

Here’s what to expect in every step of the dental crown procedure.

Step 1: Consultation

First of all, the initial consultation occurs. You will talk with your dentist about your needs, goals, desires, medical history, and present dental issues.

At this point, you will start discussing the shape, color, and size of your crowns along with determining which teeth will be getting crowns. You will have the conversation again after the preparation. 

Your dentist will also ask you about any other illnesses, allergies, or habits that you have. These will help your dentist tailor the procedure as needed. Your initial consultation and preparation will occur on the same day, provided you do not require any other treatments beforehand.

Step 2: Pre-Op Impressions

Your dentist will take a mold of your current teeth for the temporary crowns before the preparation process begins. These temporary crowns are given to protect your tooth. You will be using them until your permanent crowns are ready.

After taking the impressions, the team will create a digital impression of your teeth using a 3D scanner. This scanner takes 2000 photos of your teeth to make accurate impressions.

⚠️ If you have any present dental issues that might affect the dental crown procedure, the team will address and resolve the problem before the procedure.  In some cases, crowns cannot be done to teeth with certain conditions and might require different treatments, such as implants.

Step 3: Preparation

The preparation begins! First, a topical anesthetic gel will be applied to your gums. This will help with the application of the local anesthetic injections.

Approximately 4 injections of local anesthesia will be applied for each part of your gums. 

After anesthesia kicks in, your dentist will put a bite guard between your upper and lower molars to prevent you from closing your mouth. Then they will start cutting your teeth using diamond burs attached to a rotary dental handpiece.

Did you know?

While cutting, the diamond burs attached to the rotary dental handpiece rotate at 1700 RPM (revolutions per minute). The tool can go up to 2000 RPM, but this speed might burn the teeth. So 1700 RPM is ideal. 

The cutting will create a base for the crown. The dentist will cut until they reach the dentin (approx. 5mm). However, if the tooth is crooked, the dentist might cut a bit more to make the crown sit on it straight.

The teeth will be cut in a semi-circular way. They will have no edges or sharp points. Otherwise, the crown will not sit on the tooth correctly, so it is a must.

Sometimes teeth preparation can take longer than anticipated. The patient’s jaw can get tired, so, you might be asked to visit the clinic again the next day to continue the preparation. Of course, you will leave the clinic with temporary crowns. 

The “all-should-know” tooth preparation method:
The dentist will leave a circular bevel (step-stair bevel) on the cut teeth near the gumline. This bevel helps the crown sit better. The dentist will use an aluminum oxide gel on the bevels. This material not only stops bleeding but also makes it easier for technicians to see the cuts.
tools used for dental crown procedure

Step 4: Impressions and Selections

After completing cutting your teeth, the dentist will take another impression for the temporary and permanent crowns.

The dentist will send the impression to the lab for the preparations. Meanwhile, your dentist will prepare the temporary crowns. Dentists prefer silicon for temporary crowns. Temporary crowns will help you return to your everyday life before your crowns are ready.

Temporary crowns are not durable, they typically last for  3 days to 3 weeks tops.

After that, the dentist will show you a catalog for the shape and color of the crowns. After you pick your choice, the dentist will then place the order for the lab to prepare.

crown color palette

Step 5: The Fitting Session

After your crowns are fresh out of the lab, you will be asked to come to the clinic for a fitting session.

In this step, you will have your crown fitting. The dentist will try on the crowns one by one to see if the crowns need any alterations.

If you have any additional changes you want to make, the dentist will let the technicians in the lab know and a new set of crowns will be made for you.

Step 6: Placing the Crowns

When you are satisfied with the crowns, the dentist will then start gluing the crowns on your teeth using a resin-modified glass ionomer. This adhesive (type of glue, dental cement) has both mechanical and chemical features. It is strong and durable, and the saliva on the teeth does not affect the effectiveness of the adhesive.

Resin-modified glass ionomer adhesives also help make teeth way less sensitive. After placing all your crowns, the dentist will later hold UV light to help the adhesive set.

To remove the adhesive and gum residue, the dentist will floss in between the teeth. After the crowns are set, using articulating papers the dentist will adjust your bite to make them proper. If you can bite and break off the clear articulating papers, that means your bite is proper.

Step 7: Polishing

And the last step! After everything is set and done, your dentist will polish the crowns. 

A moss-based powder will be mixed with water. The mixture will be put on a mold and the mold will be inserted into your palate. This mixture helps polish the teeth and give them a beautiful shine.

The dentist will help you bite it down. This might be mildly uncomfortable and might slightly trigger your gag reflex.

After this process, you can say hello to your brand-new smile!

Traditional Dental Crown Procedure vs Same-day Procedure

Traditional crown procedure consists of at least 2 visits, and a few days or weeks to prepare the crowns. Meanwhile, same-day crowns are just as they are called. The preparations for both procedures are quite similar, but they differ in lots of aspects.

The impression of your teeth will be taken using digital impressions and CAD/CAM technology. Then, the teeth preparation will begin. After it is done, provided you do not need additional treatments concerning your dental health, your crowns will be prepared. Using a CEREC machine, your same-day crowns will be prepared and later will be inserted into your prepared teeth. 

Traditional dental crown

Same-day crown

More durable | 10-30 years

Less durable | 10-15 years

Longer overall procedure | at least 2 visits / 3 days to 3 weeks

Shorter overall procedure | 1 visit / few hours

Costs less

Costs more

Prepared in a lab

Prepared in a CEREC machine in the clinic

Requires temporary crown

No need for a temporary crown

Traditional impressions and/or digital scans

Digital impressions and CAD/CAM technology (greater precision)

What are the disadvantages of same-day crowns?

Same-day crowns might sound fast and easy, which they are compared to classic dental crowns. However, they come with certain downsides. Disadvantages of same-day crowns include:

  • They are made of ceramic, therefore less durable
  • They are not always the best option for certain conditions such as jaw clenching
  • Because the impressions are taken via a 3d scanner, fractures on the gumline are not always visible

If your dental crown breaks or falls off, you should make an emergency call to your dentist to replace it.

Can children get dental crowns?

Yes, children can also get dental crowns. A crown procedure for a child does not differ too much in the method. There are a few points where they differ. Which are:

  • Material used: Crowns for children are usually made with stainless steel or polycarbonate, especially for their baby teeth.
  • Simpler procedure: A dentist’s clinic can be overwhelming for children. So the procedure is much simpler and faster for a child’s crown procedure.
  • Sedation: Children might get anxious during a crown procedure, especially during teeth preparation. For that, some children might need sedation.
  • Volume of the teeth preparation: Children’s teeth are already small. So while preparing their teeth for crowns, the dentist cuts way less of the teeth.

The replacement procedure

Yes, crowns are long-lasting. But they need replacement every 10-15 years due to wearing or other external factors.

Dental crown restorations are relatively easy. The crown is first removed along with the adhesive used to place it. Then, your teeth’s impression will be taken and you will get your new crowns.

If there is any decay on your tooth, it will be filed before crown replacement.

If the damaged tooth is beyond saving, another treatment for the tooth might come in handy. These treatments can be root canal treatment, dental implant, dental bridge, or partial denture. It will be decided regarding your tooth’s condition.

References:
  1. Jakovljevic, I. V., Todorovic, A., Budak, I., Sokac, M., Milicic, B., & Gostovic, A. S. (2020). Measurement of dental crown wear -In vitro study. Dental materials journal
  2. Cunliffe, J., & Grey, N. (2008). Crown lengthening surgery–indications and techniques. Dental update
  3. Mollo, A., Cortellini, S., Bonaccini, D., Stalpers, G., & Cortellini, P. (2021). Treatment planning of teeth with compromised clinical crowns: endodontic, reconstructive, and surgical strategy. The international journal of esthetic dentistry

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