Dental crowns cover damaged teeth to support them and prevent further decay. They look and function like your natural teeth, making them an excellent option for saving damaged teeth.
What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped covers for teeth. Also known as tooth caps or dental caps, they cover damaged teeth to restore the appearance and function of your smile. It’s an essentially painless procedure that can extend the life of teeth.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are a few different types of dental crowns available, depending on your situation.
- Temporary crowns cover a tooth until the permanent crown is ready.
- Permanent crowns adhere to the underlying tooth to form a protective tooth cap.
- One-day crowns or same-day crowns can be crafted in the office and placed at that appointment.
- Three-quarter crowns, also known as onlays, cover part of the tooth.
Depending on the location of the tooth, the condition of your gum tissue, and the function of the tooth, your dentist may select different materials for your crown. For example, a gold tooth cap may not be the best choice for a front tooth, but a metal crown could work well for a molar that you don’t see as much.
Common materials for dental crowns include:
- Metal crowns are durable and can be gold, nickel, chromium, or possibly palladium. They work especially well for molar crowns because the gold or silver tooth cap won’t be as obvious.
- Porcelain crowns match natural tooth color well and make excellent choices for people with metal allergies.
- Ceramic crowns also match well with your natural teeth and work well as front tooth crowns.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns give you the best of metal and porcelain in one. They can match your natural tooth better but hold up longer than all-porcelain crowns.
- All-resin crowns make the most affordable tooth cap, but they are not as durable as other options.
Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?
There are several reasons that a dentist would recommend a dental crown. It’s a common treatment for various circumstances, including:
- Tooth decay or cavities weaken the tooth and leave it vulnerable to further damage
- Root canals essentially hollow out your tooth and leave it susceptible to cracks.
- Cracked or chipped teeth can cause sensitivity, pain, and the tooth may even break in half if left untreated.
- Cosmetic reasons, like discolored teeth, can be corrected.
Note that dental implants and bridges generally require the placement of a dental crown. For dental implants, the crown fits over the implant to restore your smile. When you get a bridge, crowns would fit on the teeth to either side of the missing one. They serve as anchors for the artificial tooth.
What Happens When You Get a Crown?
Usually, dental crowns require two visits to the dentist. The first visit involves an exam and x-rays to assess the condition of the tooth. You may require a root canal and some filing down of the tooth to remove decay and make sure it is ready to take the crown.
Once the tooth is ready, your dentist will make an impression of the tooth and the adjacent teeth to make sure the crown will fit properly. Finally, your dentist will place a temporary tooth cap to protect your tooth while a dental laboratory creates your permanent crown.
A few weeks later, at your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and reexamine the tooth. They will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and apply your new permanent crown over the tooth.
Is It Painful to Have a Crown Put on Your Tooth?
No. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area so that you don’t feel it. However, you may experience some tenderness and sensitivity for a few days afterward.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Dental crowns typically last between five years and fifteen years, depending on the location of the tooth and material used. Gold crowns and metal crowns usually last longer than all-ceramic crowns and porcelain crowns.
What are the Disadvantages of Dental Crowns?
Though dental crowns can save a damaged tooth, there are some potential drawbacks to be aware of before you get a crown on your tooth.
- There is a risk of nerve damage if a dentist leaves your tooth too thin.
- Some people experience sensitivity in adjacent teeth because the crown rubs them too much.
- Since they don’t last forever, there is a need for repairs and replacements down the line.
Is There an Alternative to Getting a Crown?
If the area is not too large, your dentist may recommend a filling or a veneer to cover the damaged spaces.
Can Your Teeth Rot Under a Crown?
It is possible to experience further decay along the edges of a crown where bacteria and debris can build up and cause damage.
How to Care for a Dental Crown?
One of the key benefits of dental crowns is their ability to function like natural teeth. You still have to take excellent care of the crown to extend its life, but it shouldn’t require extra work!
- Brush carefully at least twice per day.
- Floss daily to keep your teeth and gums healthy
- Avoid chewing on hard foods and ice that could result in a cracked crown.
- Try wearing a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep.
Remember to be extra careful with temporary crowns because the adhesive isn’t as strong. Brush and floss gently to avoid popping it off.
What Should I Do If My Permanent Crown Fell Out?
Though it’s more common to hear that a temporary crown fell off, it’s possible to lose a permanent crown. If your permanent crown fell out, call your dentist. They can advise you whether or not to put it back in place or use a temporary adhesive, like toothpaste. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
How Much Does a Dental Crown Cost?
Dental crown costs vary depending on the tooth and the material used. You can expect a tooth crown to cost between $1000 and $2000 on average. Porcelain crowns cost more than metal ones, and usually, a front tooth crown costs less than a molar crown.
If you’re worried about how to cover the crown costs, Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics can help. We offer a Dental Savings Plan and flexible financing options to make dental crowns affordable. Book an appointment at the office nearest you to get started!