While a filling is designed to repair an area of tooth decay, it can fall out or be lost with time. As fillings age bacteria in your mouth can attempt to invade the area between the filling and the remaining healthy enamel. If a large filling falls out there might not be enough healthy enamel remaining to mount a new filling. In a situation like this your dentist might recommend having the tooth fitted for a crown.
A crown essentially replaces most of the enamel layer of a tooth with an artificial material. Most crowns are made of gold, base metals or porcelain. What the crown is made of will be largely influenced by the tooth’s appearance in your smile and its primary function in your mouth.
This involves a two-step process. First your dentist will examine the tooth and take some x-rays, to make sure the pulp and root of the tooth is healthy. If decay extends deep into the tooth, your dentist may need to perform a root canal.
The dentist will then create an abutment to anchor the new crown. This is done by removing the majority of the tooth enamel with a drill leaving a small amount of enamel surrounding the dentin layer of the tooth.
With the abutment formed they will create an impression of the area and your bite pattern. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your permanent crown is made. Then they will cover the abutment with a temporary crown.
When your permanent crown is ready your dentist will call you in for a brief second appointment. They will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent crown in place.
If you have a tooth that has recently lost a filling, you should call us at 410.381.0505 to schedule an appointment.