Dental crowns don't require numerous visits to the dentist. Depending on the complexity of your case, your overall dental health, and the facilities at your local dental clinic, it can be possible to have a permanent crown fitted in a single appointment. But in many cases, a second visit will be required.
Preparation and Planning
Your dentist will start by taking an x-ray so they can take an in-depth look at the tooth itself, as well as its roots, and your jawbone. Next, the tooth must be reduced in size. This step might sound a little curious, but think of it like this—if a dentist simply put a dental crown over a tooth, wouldn't the tooth then be too large? This bulky tooth would be difficult to clean, would place pressure on its neighbors, and may even make it difficult for you to properly close your jaw. This is why a thin layer of dental enamel must be removed from the tooth. It just needs to be enough so that the tooth retains the same physical dimensions when its crown is added.
Measuring the Prepared Tooth
A dentist can now measure the tooth using either a digital scanning wand to create a 3D computer model of your tooth or a manual physical impression of the tooth by instructing you to bite down on a piece of dental putty. Now the process can diverge, depending on the facilities at the dental clinic, and what your dentist feels is most appropriate in your case.
A Single Appointment
Some clinics can make permanent porcelain dental crowns onsite. When your case is not complex, and all that must happen is for the crown to be manufactured and attached, it can be milled from a small block of porcelain using a special machine. The crown is made while you wait and is then cemented onto your tooth, with the process being finalized in a single appointment.
A Second Appointment
Sometimes a second appointment is required. The design of your crown may not be standard, or you may require a metal alloy crown or porcelain attached to a metal base. In these cases, your dentist will fit a temporary acrylic crown to your prepared tooth. This temporary restoration will look reasonably natural, but not as lifelike as its permanent successor. You'll need to take care with the temporary crown, as it's not as secure as a permanent crown. You'll then return for a brief follow-up appointment to have the temporary crown removed and replaced with your new permanent crown.
Dental crowns can often be completed in a single appointment, but needing a second appointment is standard.
Speak to your dentist to learn more about dental crowns.