What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are by far the most commonly needed and performed dental procedure in restorative dentistry. A dental crown is really just a “cap” designed to look like your natural tooth. The cap covers the entire visible portion of your original tooth once cemented into place.

Dental crowns can be used to:

  • Protect Weak, Chipped or Cracked Tooth
  • Restore a Broken or Worn Down Tooth
  • Hold a Dental Bridge in Place
  • Cover & Support a Large Filling (where there isn’t much tooth left)
  • Cover Misshapen or Discolored Teeth
  • Rebuild a Tooth After a Root Canal
  • Cover a Dental Implant
  • Cosmetic Modification

man with pearly white teeth

What to Expect:

The procedure is normally completed over the course of 2 separate office visits.

During your first appointment, your dentist first ensures that your tooth can support a crown. If your tooth is severely damaged or broken, your dentist may choose to fill it in so it will be large enough to properly fit the crown. Next, an impression of the tooth (as well as those surrounding it) is taken and sent to a dental lab so the permanent crown made accordingly. Upon completion of your first appointment, your tooth will be equipped with a new temporary crown that protects it until the final crown is ready to be permanently placed.

Once your permanent crown is manufactured, your dentist should contact you for your second visit. During this appointment, your temporary crown is removed and the new crown is positioned and cemented to the tooth with a special adhesive. It may take some to get used to the feeling of the crown before the permanent crown feels normal in your mouth This is perfectly normal and expected. After some time (6 weeks max for gums to fully adapt and change to the affected area)  the crown should look, function, and feel like a regular tooth.

Should you have any concerns regarding discomfort with your temporarily or new permanent crown, please speak to your dentist immediately.

What Types of Dental Crown Are Available?

The material your dental crown is made from should be discussed between you and your dentist. Each material comes with it’s own pros and cons.

The materials available for crowns are as follows:

  • Temporary Crowns
    • Stainless Steel Crowns: Most commonly used in crown procedures for children or as a temporary crown for adults.
    • Acrylic: Typically lighter and  are easy to adjust and trim. More compatible with the denture base. The con to acrylic crowns is that they do put you at risk for abrasion against surrounding teeth. Acrylic crowns are also difficult to remove and are easily stained.
  • Permanent Crowns
    • Resin Crowns: Usually the most affordable option. Can wear down over time and are prone to more fractures than porcelain crowns.
    • Metal Crowns: Gold metal crowns last the longest. Due to the unattractive metal appearance, metal crowns are ideal for out of sight molars. (Other metal materials used are: platinum or palladium alloys which normally show a silvery hue)
    • Porcelain Fused to Metal: Look most like your natural teeth. Susceptible to chips and cracks over time. Ideal for front and back teeth.
    • Zirconia: Zirconia match closest to the look and feel of natural teeth. There would be no need for an impression or a temporary crown.
Pressed Ceramic teeth

How Much Do Crowns Cost?

Costs of crowns vary depending on what kind of crowns material you decide to opt for, as well as your location. Speak to your dentist or contact your insurance provider to be certain cost of crowns is covered.

Be sure to talk to your dentist should you have any questions regarding your crown after your dental crown procedure.