What Are Dental Crowns?

A dental crown (or cap) is a covering that a dentist places over an entire tooth, restoring it to its original shape and size. Unlike dentures, these fixed prosthetic devices are cemented onto existing teeth or dental implants and can only be removed by a dentist. These crowns are designed to protect and strengthen the tooth structure that cannot be restored through other procedures such as fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of dental crown options, a porcelain crown is the most popular due to its remarkable resemblance to your natural tooth. Porcelain dental crowns are very durable and are designed to last many years. However, it is a dental restoration, and therefore may need to be replaced sometime in the future.

Reasons You May Need a Dental Crown

Although there are several reasons someone may need a permanent crown, I find the following to be the most common among patients:

  • Cosmetic dentistry enhancement
  • Tooth decay
  • Broken tooth filling
  • Weakened tooth/weak tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Damaged tooth
  • Fix broken tooth
  • Missing tooth
  • Tooth requires a root canal or root canal therapy.

Dental Crown Procedure

Dental crown treatment can most often be completed in just two appointments using a temporary crown and a permanent crown. The dental procedure is completed by cementing the permanent crown in place.

1.) During your first appointment, the dentist will examine and prepare the tooth that needs the crown. This may involve taking X-rays of the tooth, and it may also include taking impressions of your tooth or mouth beforehand.

2.) Next, the dentist will file down and remove part of the tooth enamel (the outer most layer).

3.) Once the tooth has been properly trimmed, an impression, or mold, will be taken of the existing tooth and the surrounding teeth.

4.) The dentist will place a temporary dental crown over your prepared tooth to protect it, and the impressions are sent to the dental lab to create your custom crown.

5.) During your second appointment, the temporary crown is removed from the affected tooth and the permanent crown is cemented in place, looking just like your original tooth.

Dental Crown Care

Careful attention to your new crown can prolong its life. Be sure to follow these tips:

  • Practice careful brushing.
  • Flossing daily.
  • Avoid hard foods. Food such as corn on the cob, hard candy, and ice can stress and crack your teeth.
  • If you grind or clench your teeth at night. To protect your crown and surrounding teeth from future damage, your dentist may recommend a night guard.