If you have a damaged tooth or teeth, removal is not the only option for you. In fact, many dentists prefer to use a technique in which they place a tooth-shaped ‘cap’ over the damaged tooth. This is called a dental crown procedure and is the most common type of mouth restoration technique used by dentists.
The cap-like structure placed by dentists in the dental crown procedure helps restore your tooth’s appearance, shape, size, and strength. When the crown is cemented into place, it fully encases the damaged tooth, thus restoring your smile.
If you have a damaged tooth, consider the dental crown procedure to restore it. However, you can opt for this seamless procedure for other reasons too. This in-depth guide will tell you everything about dental crowns, including why you need them, the procedure, the risks, benefits, the dental crown cost, and more.
Why Do You Need a Dental Crown?
It would be best if you considered opting for a dental crown procedure:
- To keep a cracked tooth together so that it does not break
- To restore a completely damaged tooth
- To cover a dental implant
- To hold a dental bridge together
- To protect a damaged tooth from decaying further
- To align crooked teeth
- To cover severely stained teeth
- To fill gaps between teeth
- If there’s constant wear and tear on teeth, such as from continuous grinding of teeth or an acid reflux
- To provide support and cover a large filling
- If your tooth has a cavity or a fracture
- To cover broken or damaged cusps
Please note that a dental crown procedure may be done on their baby teeth for children to protect them from decay or save a decayed tooth from further damage.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
Dentists recommend dental crowns for mouth restoration because they offer many advantages. Some of these include:
- They have a minimally invasive procedure
- They last for many years, depending on your oral hygiene and habits
- They don’t chip or stain
- The crowns are completely safe because non-toxic materials are used to make them
- They look and feel just like your natural teeth since they are custom designed
Now that you know the benefits of dental crowns and if they are the right choice for you, are you considering opting for them? If so, we would recommend learning more about the procedure and the various options you have.
Types of Dental Crowns
A permanent dental crown can be made from various materials. The material you use can influence the dental crown cost.
1. Stainless Steel
They are prefabricated teeth and are used as a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the dentist makes a permanent one from another material. These are most commonly used to cover children’s baby teeth because they are cost-effective and require only one visit. When the baby teeth naturally come out, so does the crown.
These are perhaps the most expensive dental crowns. However, they are more long-lasting and durable as compared to other dental crowns made from different materials. They are ideal for out-of-sight molars because they withstand biting and chewing forces effectively. These metals can come in different types include cobalt, nickel, gold, etc.
3. Porcelain Fused with Metal
These are metal dental crowns, but with porcelain attached on top to match the teeth’ color. They look the most natural as compared to all the other types of dental crowns. However, sometimes the metal under the cap shows through the gums. Moreover, this material can also wear down the surrounding teeth that come in contact with the dental crown. Thus, they are only suitable for front and back teeth restoration.
Though they have a low dental crown cost, resin dental crowns are not as durable. They are more prone to more damage and fractures than porcelain-fused-with-metal dental crowns.
5. All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain
They give the most natural look as compared to other types of dental crowns. So, if you are looking for dental crowns that are almost undetectable, these are perfect for you. Additionally, this type is also ideal for people who may be allergic to metal. While these are ideal for your front teeth, they are not long-lasting and wear down the teeth quickly compared to other options.
6. Pressed Ceramic
This type of dental crown has a hard inner core. They replace the metal liner that is found in the all-ceramic dental crowns. Moreover, since they are capped with porcelain, they will provide you with the most natural color match. Lastly, they are also more durable and will last you longer than all-porcelain dental crowns.
7. Temporary Versus Permanent
The difference between the two is that dentists make temporary dental crowns in their office, while permanent ones are typically made in the laboratory.
What are Onlays and ¾ Crowns?
There are several different types of dental crowns, as highlighted earlier. Onlays and ¾ crowns are not the traditional types of dental crowns. This is because they don’t cover as much of the underlying tooth as other types of dental crowns.
Onlays and ¾ crowns are used by dentists when you still have a solid tooth structure remaining. Plus, the dental crown procedure remains the same; however, the dentist removes some tooth parts.
The dental crown procedure typically involves two visits. The first visit involves examining and preparing the tooth, while the second visit involves placing the permanent dental crown. In some cases, you may get your dental crown made on the first visit.
The First Visit
The tooth that requires the dental crown is examined in the first visit. Your dentist may take an X-ray of the tooth and the bone around it. The dentist may also do a root canal treatment before your dental crown procedure if they notice tooth decay, think there is a risk of infection from the procedure, or feel the tooth’s pulp is damaged.
After that, the dentist will anesthetize your gums and tooth and file your tooth down. They will also cut it from the top and sides to make space for the crown. The amount of tooth that is cut or filed depends on the type of crown you are getting. For example, if you opt for all-metal dental crowns, the dentist will not cut or file your tooth. However, if you go for all-porcelain dental crowns or porcelain fused with a metal dental crown, the dentist will have to cut and file your tooth.
If a large portion of your tooth has to be removed due to damage or decay, then your dentist may build up space by using filling materials.
After the tooth has been shaped again, your dentist will use a paste or putty on the tooth to make an impression of it for the crown. This can also be done using a digital scanner. The impressions are made of the teeth situated both above and below the mouth to ensure that the crown does not affect your bite. The dentist then sends these impressions to the laboratory to make the dental crown.
The laboratory typically takes two-three weeks to return the dental crown, which is why your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown. This crown will protect the tooth that has been filed down and prepared for the permanent crown. The temporary crown is usually made of acrylic and is placed using temporary cement.
The Second Visit
During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed. The permanent crown is checked to see if the size fits and the color matches. If everything seems okay, you will be given an anesthetic, and the dentist will clean your teeth thoroughly.
After cleaning, the dentist will thoroughly dry off the area so that the permanent crown can be placed. Then the permanent crown will be carefully placed and fixed using permanent cement.
The dentist will wait for a few minutes for the cement to set. After that, they will test the dental crown by making you bite. This is very important because it will determine whether any changes need to be made to the crown and your tooth sensitivity.
How to Care for Your Temporary Crown
Since you have to wear your temporary crown for several days and weeks, dentists advise that you take special care of the crown during this time. Some of the ways to take care of your crown include:
- Avoid eating sticky foods like toffees and chewing gum
- Minimize the use of the side of the mouth which has the temporary crown
- Avoid chewing hard foods like raw vegetables and ice
- Slide rather than pull out the floss when flossing to avoid removing the temporary crown
You may experience a few problems or discomfort after your permanent dental crown procedure. Some of them are listed below.
- You may experience some sensitivity in your tooth, which is fine. However, if you are experiencing pain when biting, then you must contact your dentist immediately.
- The crown may start chipping if it’s made of porcelain or porcelain infused with metal. You can temporarily fix it using resin. However, if the chipping is extensive, then the crown may have to be replaced.
- The cement may wash off from under the crown and may cause the crown to become loose. It is advisable to contact your dentist in this case as it may become vulnerable to bacteria and decay.
- The crown may also fall off due to the cement or the decay of the underlying tooth. In this case, you should call your dentist immediately.
- You may have an allergic reaction—though this is extremely rare because the dental crown is made with metals
- A dark line may become visible across the gum line of the dental crown. However, this is normal and is not usually harmful.
How Long do They Last?
The lifespan of dental crowns is five to fifteen years. The life span of your dental crown largely depends on various factors. These can include how well you follow good oral hygiene habits. Moreover, they also depend on your mouth-related habits, for example, how you chew.
You can avoid any harm to your dental crowns by practicing the following:
- Brushing and flossing every day
- Going to your dentist for regular checkups
- Avoiding hard foods, such as candies and ice
- Avoiding foods that may stick to your crown or gum, such as toffees and caramel
Cost of a Dental Crown
The cost of a dental crown varies depending on where you live in and the type of dental crown you are getting. For example, a gold crown will cost more than a porcelain crown. Typically, dental crowns cost anywhere between $800 and $1,700 or more per crown.
Your insurance company can cover a dental crowns cost, so it is advised that you check with them before you start the dental crown procedure.
Now that you have read everything you need to know about dental crowns, including its procedure, risks, benefits, and various types, you can make an informed decision and discuss your options with your dentist.
The procedure is not painful or risky. Plus, for most dentists, the dental crown procedure is routine. The main consideration to dental crowns is the cost; however, they are worth it since they offer multiple benefits with minimal risks. In the end, you will have teeth that look and function just like natural ones!
You may experience some discomfort and sensitivity after the procedure. However, if you are experiencing excessive pain when biting or chewing, we advise you to immediately contact your dentist.
If you have questions about whether a crown might be right for you, feel free to contact Dr. Owyoung or our staff today.