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Here's Why A Dental Crown Must Be Made To Measure

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Clothing can be classified as either haute couture (something that's one of a kind and made to measure), or prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear, off-the-rack, available in stores). Dental crowns are haute couture in that they're made to fit your tooth specifically. How would you even know if a crown doesn't fit as well as it needs to?

Physical Contact

It's both perfectly natural and entirely unavoidable for your teeth to make physical contact with each other. The contact between the biting surfaces of your teeth when your jaw is closed is called static occlusion. When your jaw is in motion (during speaking, eating, and so on), the passing contact between the biting surfaces of your teeth is called dynamic occlusion. Potential discomfort during static or dynamic occlusion (or both) can be a sign that your dental crown doesn't fit so well.

Exact Perimeter

It's rare for there to be a manufacturing error that will prevent a crown from being fitted to a tooth. The crown was made to fit the exact perimeter of the tooth, and the tooth had a shallow layer of its surface enamel removed to accommodate the crown. The crown can still be applied to the tooth. When a crown is the wrong size for a tooth, it's generally due to an excess of height. The crown fits the tooth but doesn't fit your jaw. When your mouth is closed (static or dynamic occlusion), the height of the porcelain shell creates premature contact between the crown and its opposing tooth.

Fractionally Too Tall

Premature contact during static or dynamic occlusion indicates that your crown is fractionally too tall. This can be uncomfortable. As your jaw compensates, some muscle strain may be felt. Your bite may eventually become misaligned. There can also be extra (and potentially destructive) friction on the tooth that faces the crown in the opposing jaw. Other teeth in your mouth may also experience accelerated wear and tear. In short, you want your crown to be the correct height. 

Moving Forward

If you have any suspicions that your new crown is too tall for your jaw, contact your dentist. There are a variety of options to move forward. When a simple, uncomplicated reduction is needed, a dentist can often modify the crown without removing it—buffing the porcelain with a dental bur to reduce its height. More complex modifications can involve the crown being removed for repairs. When modifications aren't possible, your dentist will have to make a new crown.

Minor discomfort is quite standard with a new dental crown, but this will quickly fade as you get used to it. If your jaw continues to protest about the presence of the crown, speak with your dentist. Your crown is made to measure, and those measurements must be perfect.

Contact your dentist for more information about dental crowns