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Tooth enamel is a very hard biological substance that can rival the durability of living bone tissues. Unfortunately, there are still times when an oral trauma or other form of dental accident can cause a fracture in the enamel layer of one of your teeth. This is even more likely to occur if you grind your teeth at night without the protection of a quality dental guard.

When this happens, the bacteria in your mouth can sometimes move quickly and develop a new cavity within the fractured tooth enamel. Since the tooth has already been compromised, the bacteria could affect the health of the tooth in a short amount of time.

To prevent problems this severe, Dr. Lynn Leyde might recommend replacing the entire tooth enamel layer with a dental crown. This is a near-perfect copy of the tooth’s exterior that is cast in a material that is invulnerable to tooth decay.

The process begins with your dentist examining the tooth and taking some X-rays to assess the extent of the damage. If the interior of the tooth has been damaged, she might need to perform a root canal before a crown can be installed. This is more likely to be the case if you’ve procrastinated professional care or if the fractured tooth causes extreme sensitivity when eating and drinking.

Your dentist will the use a drill to remove the entire tooth enamel layer. This leaves the healthy interior of the tooth completely unaffected. This abutment will eventually act as an anchor point for the crown.

At the end of this appointment, we will form an impression of the abutment and surrounding teeth. Then the abutment will be protected by a hard, plastic cap, which is known as a temporary crown. The impression will be sent to a dental lab technician who will custom make your new crown.

A staff member at our clinic will call you to schedule a follow-up appointment when your crown is ready. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement your new crown into place over the abutment.

If you live in the Shoreline, Washington, area and you have a tooth with a large chip or fracture, you should call 206-546-8377 to have it treated and repaired at Professional Dental Care.