What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a cap, shaped like a tooth. The crown goes over a tooth to strengthen it, and improve the appearance. Dental crowns may be needed to protect a broken or weak tooth, to cover a tooth with a large filling, to hold a dental bridge in place or to cover discolored teeth. Crowns are generally cemented into place. Here are some commonly asked questions about crowns:

Generally, what are tooth crowns made of?

Some crowns are made of metal. Of course, a metal crown is not a good choice for a tooth that everyone can see. Metal crowns are durable, and are often placed on the back teeth to cut costs.  Porcelain fused-to-metal crowns are strong and durable, but they are not as cosmetically pleasing as an all porcelain crown.  All porcelain crowns are considered to be the most attractive crown. They are usually made out of ceramic material. Porcelain crowns look like or better than a regular tooth.  All ceramic crowns are made of tooth-colored material, designed to blend in with the rest of the teeth. Ceramic crowns are not as durable as some other options.  All resin crowns are the most affordable, but they break easily.

How can tooth crowns be repaired?

Porcelain crowns can chip, sometimes. If the chip is small, a composite resin can be used to repair the crown, while it is still in the mouth. If the chip is large, a new crown may be necessary.  Sometimes, a crown falls off. Use dental adhesive to temporarily replace the crown, and call the dentist’s office. The dentist may be able to re-cement the crown into place.

With proper maintenance, can tooth crowns get cavities?

Tooth crowns can’t get cavities, but the tooth underneath can. The tooth still has to be protected from decay. Follow good hygiene practices, including brushing that tooth and flossing around the area where the crown meets the tooth.

Usually, are tooth crowns expensive?

The cost of a crown varies depending on where you live, and the type of crown. Porcelain crowns, porcelain over metal and gold crowns average from $600 to $3100 apiece.

What is the procedure for getting a crown?

The dentist numbs the tooth, and then builds it up with a filling. The filling has to be large enough for the crown to hold onto. The tooth is shaved down and an impression made. The dentist picks out the best color to match your teeth and makes a temporary crown. The temporary crown is put in place with temporary cement, so it’s easy to come off. It usually takes a few weeks to get the permanent crown.

About how long do tooth crowns last?

The life of a crown depends on how well it is taken care of, and how much wear and tear it receives. Generally, A crown lasts between five and fifteen years.  Hopefully, patients avoid chewing ice, biting fingernails and using their mouth to open bottles. If you take care of a crown, it will provide a beautiful smile for many years to come.