Sometimes teeth can become worn down, damaged or decayed. In some cases, these issues can be addressed with dental fillings and other treatments. However, moderate to severe damage often requires dental crowns – also called caps. These restorations cover the entire tooth structure, offering additional strength and resiliency.

Do I Need a Dental Crown?

There are plenty of reasons why your dentist might suggest a dental cap or crown. For example, you may need this type of restoration if:

  • You have a cavity that is too large for a dental filling.
  • A tooth is severely broken down or damaged.
  • You have a weak tooth that requires additional support.
  • You have severe dental discoloration that does not respond to teeth whitening.
  • The teeth surfaces are worn down due to bruxism.
  • There is a root canal treated tooth that needs extra strength and support.
  • You are replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant.

Since dental crowns rely on healthy gums for support, patients must be free from periodontal disease. If infection is present, this issue must be addressed before placing new restorations.

Dental Crown Materials

Dental crowns can be made from several types of materials, including composite, metal alloys, ceramic and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM). When choosing material for a crown, your dentist will consider several factors, including:

  • The location of the tooth
  • How much bite pressure it will endure
  • The amount of tooth that is visible when you smile
  • The position of the gum tissue
  • The shade of the natural tooth
  • Your personal preferences

Most dental materials today mimic the sheen of natural teeth. Dental ceramics and porcelain have translucency similar to enamel, offering lifelike results.

Dental Crown Treatment Process

Typically, dental crown treatment can be completed in one to two office visits. In some instances, your dentist may offer same-day restorations, which can be milled at the office in a single appointment. Here are the general steps involved in receiving a dental crown:

Initial Consultation

First, you must see your dentist for a comprehensive evaluation. After performing a visual assessment, he or she will also take x-rays to determine the extent of the damage.

Preparing the Tooth

If your dentist recommends crown treatment, then the affected tooth must be prepped. This process involves removing small amounts of enamel. Any decayed portions are removed during this step as well.

Crown Fabrication

Next, impressions are taken of your teeth and sent to a dental laboratory. There, a trained lab technician uses your impressions to create a final restoration. While this step is being completed, your dentist will place a temporary restoration to protect your tooth. If your dentist offers same-day restorations, a temporary crown is not necessary.

Final Crown Placement

Once the lab has created your new restoration, they will send it to your dentist’s office. Your dentist ensures that your new crown fits and makes any final necessary adjustments to your bite. Lastly, the new crown is bonded into place using high-quality dental cement.

To keep your dental crown looking and feeling great for the long haul, be sure to practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day and floss once a day. Always choose products that are nonabrasive and ADA-accepted. Patients should also visit their dentist regularly for exams and cleanings.

On average, crowns last between five and 15 years. But with proper care, these restorations can last much, much longer.

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Similar Questions

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