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Fedoricw, Massoumi, & Kolbig

The Art and Science Behind Placing a Dental Crown

dental crown being fabricated

Dental crowns have long been considered a remarkable solution for restoring damaged or compromised teeth. The process of placing a dental crown involves a combination of art and science, as dental professionals carefully craft and position the crown to achieve both functional and aesthetic results. Let’s delve into the art and science behind this restorative dental procedure.

Artistic Elements:

Dental crowns require a keen eye for detail and an artistic touch to ensure they blend seamlessly with the natural teeth. Dental professionals consider factors such as color, shape, and translucency when creating a crown that matches the patient’s natural dentition. This attention to detail allows the crown to appear as if it’s an original part of the patient’s smile, enhancing their overall appearance and boosting their self-confidence.

  • Color Matching: Dental crowns are available in various shades and colors to match the patient’s natural teeth. The dentist carefully selects the appropriate shade to ensure that the crown seamlessly blends with the surrounding teeth. This attention to detail is crucial for achieving a natural and harmonious appearance.
  • Shape and Contouring: Each tooth has its own unique shape and contours. Dental professionals use their artistic judgment to shape and contour the crown in a way that mimics the natural tooth it is replacing. This includes considering factors such as the curvature of the tooth, the angles of the cusps, and the overall symmetry of the smile. Attention to these details ensures that the crown looks natural and fits seamlessly with the adjacent teeth.
  • Translucency: Natural teeth have a certain level of translucency, which means they allow some light to pass through them. Skilled dental professionals take into account the translucency of the patient’s natural teeth when selecting the materials for the crown. This ensures that the crown reflects light in a similar manner, creating a lifelike appearance.

The Science of Tooth Preparation:

The science behind placing a dental crown lies in the precise tooth preparation process. Before a crown can be placed, the tooth must be carefully reshaped to ensure a secure fit. This involves removing a small portion of the tooth structure, usually the outer layer, to accommodate the crown. The dentist must strike a delicate balance between preserving enough healthy tooth structure and providing adequate space for the crown’s placement.

Once the tooth is prepared, an accurate impression is taken using dental putty. This impression captures the unique shape, size, and alignment of the tooth, which is then sent to a dental laboratory. Skilled technicians utilize advanced techniques and technology to create a custom crown that precisely matches the impression. The materials chosen, such as porcelain or ceramic, are carefully crafted to mimic the natural properties of teeth, including color and translucency.

Placing the permanent crown requires precision and expertise. The dentist ensures a proper fit and checks the bite alignment to avoid any interference with the opposing teeth. Dental adhesives are used to secure the crown in place, providing strength and stability. The final placement must not only be functional but also blend harmoniously with the patient’s natural teeth, maintaining the overall aesthetic appeal.

Once the crown is placed, it offers numerous benefits, such as restoring proper chewing functionality, protecting the underlying tooth structure, and enhancing the patient’s smile. However, proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity of the crown. Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental visits are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health and preserving the integrity of the crown.

Same-Day Crown Placement:

Same-day crowns, also known as CEREC crowns (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics), refer to dental crowns that can be fabricated and placed in a single dental appointment. Unlike traditional crowns that require multiple visits, same-day crowns utilize advanced CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) technology to streamline the process. Here’s a breakdown of how same-day crowns are placed:

  1. Evaluation and Preparation: The first step is a comprehensive examination of the tooth that needs a crown. The dentist will assess its condition, determine if a crown is necessary, and prepare the tooth by removing any decayed or damaged areas.
  2. Digital Impression: Instead of taking a traditional physical impression using dental putty, a digital impression is taken using a specialized intraoral scanner. The scanner captures a highly accurate 3D image of the prepared tooth and surrounding areas, eliminating the need for messy impression materials.
  3. Crown Design: The digital impression is then sent to a computer where the dentist uses CAD software to design the crown. The software allows the dentist to customize the crown’s shape, size, and contours, ensuring a precise fit and optimal aesthetics. The design process takes into account the patient’s bite, adjacent teeth, and overall smile.
  4. In-House Milling: Once the crown design is finalized, it is sent to an in-office milling machine. The milling machine carves the crown out of a solid block of high-quality ceramic material, usually within minutes. This process offers convenience and eliminates the need for an off-site dental laboratory.
  5. Crown Placement: Once the crown is milled, the dentist will assess its fit and make any necessary adjustments. The crown’s color can also be customized by staining or glazing it to match the patient’s natural teeth. Once satisfied, the dentist will bond the crown to the prepared tooth using dental adhesive. The crown is then carefully positioned and secured in place.
  6. Final Adjustments: After the crown is placed, the dentist will check the patient’s bite to ensure proper alignment and make any final adjustments if needed. This step is crucial for comfort and to avoid any interference between the upper and lower teeth.
  7. Completion and Aftercare: With the same-day crown placement, the procedure is completed in one appointment, saving the patient time and eliminating the need for a temporary crown. Patients can leave the dental office with their fully functional and aesthetically pleasing crown. Proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, along with routine dental check-ups, is essential to maintain the longevity and health of the same-day crown.

Same-day crowns offer several advantages, including convenience, reduced chair time, and immediate restoration of the tooth. The integration of CAD/CAM technology allows for efficient and accurate crown fabrication, providing patients with a durable and natural-looking solution in a single visit.

In Conclusion:

In conclusion, placing a dental crown involves a delicate blend of artistry and scientific precision. Dental professionals meticulously evaluate and prepare the tooth, utilize advanced laboratory techniques, and exercise expertise to achieve functional and aesthetic results. By understanding the art and science behind this procedure, patients can appreciate the skill and craftsmanship involved in creating and placing a dental crown.

Dr. Roman Fedorciw has been in private practice in Cromwell since 1991. He is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Dental Association. He is also a member of the Connecticut Dental Association and Middlesex County Dental Association. Dr. Fedorciw has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the “Top Dentists” in Hartford County by Hartford Magazine and in the state of Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine.