September 8, 2014
A Visit to My Dentist
Last week I discovered that an old cap, or crown, had broken.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth. The cap covers the entire tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength. Usually a cap is needed when a tooth is decayed, cracked, or weak.
I made an appointment with my dentist of 15 years, Dr. Marc Lowenberg of Lowenberg, Lituchy, and Kantor. The practice is in New York City. He explained that the process of replacing the cap would require two sessions. The first session took about an hour. It's an interesting process so I thought I'd share it with you.
1 Dr. Lowenberg started the visit by filling a cavity in a tooth next to the broken cap. He drilled the tooth, and then etched it with acid to create a surface to which the filling material will bond.
2 After filling the tooth, he used a dental mirror to get a good look at it. Then he painted on an adhesive that will hold the filling in place.
3 Here he is hardening the adhesive with an ultraviolet light.
4 I decided to take a selfie of my newly filled tooth.
5 Here Dr. Lowenberg is looking at the tooth that needs to be prepared for the new cap.
6 Another selfie during the procedure. Dr. Lowenberg told me that many of his patients take selfies during their visits!
7 Dr. Lowenberg is taking an impression or mold of my tooth for the temporary cap. The impression material is made of silicone.
8 Here I am looking in a mirror at the tooth that the dentist just prepared for the temporary cap.
9 Dr. Lowenberg is taking a bite registration. This determines how the top and bottom teeth come together. I had to bite down on a rubbery substance, which will show the bite registration.
10 Here I am biting down on the registration material, which is called Blu Bite.
11 Here Dr. Lowenberg is fitting the temporary cap for me to wear home. He took a mold of the tooth earlier and now he's putting the molded cap in place. This cap is made of a composite material but the real cap will be made of porcelain in a dental laboratory.
12 Here you can see that I have a two bumps under my tongue. These are bony growths called Exostosis or Tori. When they occur on the floor of the mouth, like mine do, they are called Torus Mandibularis. These bony lumps occur in about 3 percent of the population.
13 Here Dr. Lowenberg is trimming and shaping the temporary cap so that the fit is precise.
14 The temporary cap came out of the mold a little low, so here the dentist is adding a composite material to the cap to give me a better bite. The blue ultraviolet light is hardening the composite.
15 Dr. Lowenberg is checking my bite with the temporary cap in place. He said it was perfect on the very first try.
16 Dr. Lowenberg used dental cement to put the temporary crown in place. He then put a cotton roll in my mouth for me to bite down on while the cement hardened. All done! Next week I come back for the real crown!
17 Dr. Marc Lowenberg