If a tooth has more extensive decay, a dental crown may be the ideal aesthetic and functional restorative solution.
Choosing to have a crown placed can preserve the natural tooth, which is always the goal as preserving the natural teeth helps maintain the supporting bone structure and stability of the surrounding and adjacent teeth.
The first step in the process is to take an impression that will be used to make a model of the teeth and bite. This allows the crown to be made to look and function like your natural tooth. The tooth will then be prepped, with the decayed areas being removed. An impression of the prepped tooth will be made so that the final crown will fit properly when it is placed.
Sometimes the final crown can be placed on the same day but other times a temporary crown will be placed while your final restoration is being created. Crowns often last a lifetime with proper care and oral hygiene.
There are four common types of crowns:
This type of crown is often used for teeth that are visible when smiling as they are made from a porcelain-based material that retains the look of your natural teeth.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
These crowns are known for their strength and durability while also allowing for a natural-looking restoration.
These may be used when more strength is needed, particularly for patients who grind their teeth at night.
Base Metal Alloys
These are strong and corrosion-resistant and are often used when there is less existing tooth structure available to support the crown restoration.
What is a crown?
A crown or ‘cap’ is a cover that is placed over your tooth. It is made from a high strength material and helps to restore the normal contours of a tooth and to prevent it from fracturing.
Why do I need a crown instead of a filling?
A filling can be an effective solution to replace a segment of broken or decayed teeth. However, fillings rely on ample tooth structure to retain them. When there is not enough tooth, placing a large filling puts the remaining tooth at risk for fracture. A crown addresses this concern by covering the high-stress areas with a strong material and encapsulating any weakened tooth structure or filling within.
How much does a crown cost?
This can vary but most crowns are typically in the range of $1500.
Why is a crown so expensive?
The fee reflects the time, materials, and laboratory costs involved in producing a quality product, which can potentially last a lifetime. Alternatively, a large filling, while costing only 1/3 of the price of a crown, often results in a situation that will fail over time, possibly resulting in the need for additional procedures as well as discomfort.
How long does a crown last?
A crown can last for many years, but there are several factors involved. A person’s diet, home care, and grinding or clenching habits are the most critical determinants.
Does a crown hurt more than a filling?
During the crown procedure, there should be no pain. Much like a filling, some sensitivity in the tooth or gums may be present after the anesthesia wears off, but this is typically minimal.
Can I get a cavity under a crown?
Yes. While most of the tooth is covered with a crown, some of it is not and is exposed to the oral cavity. If you are cavity-prone this area is vulnerable. Therefore, it is important to keep crowned teeth clean just like natural teeth.
Can I get a crown without a root canal?
If a tooth needs a crown but appears otherwise healthy and is pain-free, it does not need a root canal.
Do I need a crown after a root canal?
Usually. All posterior teeth need crowns after root canals. Some anterior teeth may not, depending on the circumstance.