Dental Crowns

What are dental Crowns?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth (to cover the tooth) to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance.

The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

Why do I need a dental Crown?

A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:

  • To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
  • To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
  • To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
  • To hold a dental bridge in place
  • To cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
  • To cover a dental implant
  • To make a cosmetic modification

For children, a crown may be used on primary (baby) teeth in order to:

  • Save a tooth that has been so damaged by decay that it can’t support a filling.
  • Protect the teeth of a child at high risk for tooth decay, especially when a child has difficulty keeping up with daily oral hygiene.
  • Decrease the frequency of general anesthesia for children unable because of age, behavior, or medical history to fully cooperate with the requirements of proper dental care.

In such cases, your dentist will likely recommend a stainless steel crown.

What should I expect when doing a dental Crown?

Preparing a tooth for a crown usually requires two visits to the dentist, the first step involves examining and preparing the tooth, the second visit involves placement of the permanent crown.

At the first visit in preparation for a crown, your dentist may take a few X-rays to check the roots of the tooth receiving the crown and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp, a root canal treatment may first be performed.

Before the process of making a crown begins, your dentist will anesthetize (numb) the tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth.

After reshaping the tooth, your dentist typically will use a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown. The impressions are sent to a dental lab where the crown will be manufactured. The crown is usually returned to our office in two to three weeks.

During this first office visit your dentist will make a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while the crown is being made. Temporary crowns usually are made of acrylic and are held in place using a temporary cement.

At the second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit and color of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the tooth and the new crown is permanently cemented in place.

 What type of Crown materials are available?

Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.

How should I care for my temporary Crown?

A temporary dental crown is just a temporary fix until a permanent crown is ready, we suggest to take a few precautions. These include:

  • Avoid sticky, chewy foods (for example, chewing gum, caramel), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the crown.
  • Minimize use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown. Shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of the mouth.
  • Avoid chewing hard foods (such as raw vegetables), which could dislodge or break the crown.
  • Slide flossing material out-rather than lifting out-when cleaning your teeth. Lifting the floss out, as you normally would, might pull off the temporary crown.

How long to permanent dental Crowns last?

On average, dental crowns last between five and 15 years. The life span of a crown depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your personal mouth-related habits (you should avoid such habits as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging).