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Lots of questions regarding a Crown



Junior member
Jun 13, 2012
I cracked my tooth about 3 days ago while eating some hard chips. I felt the crack with my tongue and went to the dentist. He said it needs a crown.

The tooth is number 14 (1st molar, upper left), it has a small old filling in it, and doesn't need a root canal. There is currently no pain.

Here are some of my questions regarding the crown:

  1. I'm aware it's a lengthy process, but how much of that time is actually spent doing things that can be potentially painful?
  2. Do I go with the one-visit CEREC or two-visit traditional way? I heard pros and cons for both.
  3. What crown material do I choose? Again, I heard pros and cons for all of them.
  4. Besides the local anesthetic, I would like some additional anxiety relief. What do you recommend, Valium or nitrous oxide?
  5. What can I expect after the procedure? Any pain or problems down the road?

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I would like an answer to this as well.
I've had a total of 5 crowns in my mouth including a 3 crown bridge so I have some experience with this.
Here's my two cents:

There is no pain invloved provided your dentist numbs you good. The only thing I found uncomfortable is the goop covered plate they use to take an impression of the tooth before they start. This is then used to make the crown which is a perfect replica of the tooth. It's really a work of art. Yes, this is a two visit process but well worth it and the way I recommend.
After the impression is done, the LA is done. There is no pain but the dentost has to grind the tooth down which creates a bit of pressure and is rather loud and noisy--its kind of a grinding sound but again it does not hurt.
The dentist makes a temp crown and places it over the tooth where it will remain until a week later when the crown is cemented onto the tooth for life. I have never had any problem with my temp crowns. I never had anything but a mild soreness after the crown prep procedure.
My crowns are made of porclain. They look so completely natural that no one would guess they are crowns.

Hope this helps you!:)

And one more thing--about sedation. I had a bit of help from Prince Valium for the first crown bit after that I was okay. I recommend an IPOD to drown out the noise.
I've had a number of crowns and it's really a pretty tolerable procedure, no pain. Prepping for the crown involves a lot of drilling but like any other procedure you should be completely numb. I'm having a molar prepped for a crown next week, and I'm going right back to work after. It takes a couple hours but it's really easy and there's no recovery.

1. There tends to be a lot more drilling than for, say, a filling or root canal. Total drilling time is maybe 10-15 minutes (?). The reason for this is that the dentist needs to shape the tooth to allow room for the crown to be mounted on. I've NEVER had any pain during crown prep, though. Music certainly helps. Impressions (they place a tray of goop onto your tooth or entire arch and let it harden to make a mold of your teeth) are kind of yucky and I tend to gag a little, but not painful. These take about 5 minutes.
2. I've recently had two CEREC crowns and I love them! But mostly because I'm a geek and I like watching my "new tooth" as it's made, and I like not having to come back for a second appointment. I can't tell the difference between my conventional crowns and the CEREC ones, in terms of look, feel or durability. Go with whatever your dentist recommends. CEREC impressions are photographic (they use a little wand camera) instead of the goopy impression they take for the lab, but I'm not sure if they can use CEREC for the impression and send that data to the lab instead of a physical mold.
3. Again I'd go with your dentist's recommendation. Most of mine are porcelain over metal (I think) and I'm told they're stronger than the original teeth. Whatever you choose, your crown will probably look just like a tooth to anyone but the dentist.
4. Can't help there, I've only had Novocain. Most people find nitrous pretty relaxing though.
5. No problems at all! My crowns are my teeth! You can bite and brush and floss and after about a day you'll forget that it isn't your tooth.

Good luck with your crown! I think you'll find it painless and you'll soon have a brand new-looking tooth.
I have three crowns, all on 1st molars. I chose full gold crowns because they are the most durable. There are two downsides to gold crowns - they look like gold (not a big deal to me on the back molars) and right now the price of gold is very high so they cost a bit more than pfm, unless the price of gold has dropped significantly since January. The labs can make full gold crowns in just a few days because it is a faster process than porcelain.

Much of the appointment time is spent making impressions, although for the 1st molars they only used half-trays for me so it was not as bad as making full-mouth impressions. Also, the dentist can take a while when seating the crown to try it on several times and make adjustments before cementing the permanent crown.

Afterwards, if the crown feels odd, hits the opposing teeth strangely, or if your tooth or the opposite teeth start hurting, go back to the dentist as soon as possible. The crown may need to be adjusted very slightly (the dentist will do this with a drill or some sandpaper stuff, it is completely painless and you don't need anesthetic) to fix the bite, it just takes a few minutes.