Dentist presenting a teeth mold to female patient
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Are you asking yourself what is a dental crown? Often, known as a tooth-shaped cover or tooth cap, your dentist cements the crown on top of your tooth. As a result, it covers the visible portion of your tooth and restores its natural size, shape, and function.

Why Would You Need a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is necessary for several situations. Dentists may use crowns to repair cavities that are too large for fillings—Crowns correct teeth which are cracked, broken, or worn down. Also, dental crowns cover misshapen or discolored teeth to help you feel more confident about your smile. Children need crowns in certain circumstances. For example, the child may have a badly damaged tooth that cannot support a filling. They may be a child who is at high risk of tooth decay. In certain circumstances, a dental crown decreases the need for a child to undergo frequent dental health procedures that require an anesthetic.

What Are The Different Types of Dental Crowns?

There are temporary crowns and permanent crowns. Your dentist's office makes your temporary crown while you wait for the final cap. Now, you can protect your tooth until your permanent crown arrives. Generally, acrylic-based materials comprise the crown. In other cases, your crown comes from stainless steel. There are five (5) different types of dental crowns that are permanent:

  1. Gold crowns, also called gold tooth caps, are made from gold and other metals, such as chromium, nickel, or palladium. These durable crowns can last for decades, but their metallic color means they're more noticeable than other crown types.

  2. Porcelain crowns have a more natural look than different types, making them a good choice for front teeth. Since there's no metal used to create the crown, they may be a good choice for people with metal allergies.

  3. Zirconia crowns come from a powerful type of metal called zirconium dioxide. Zirconia crowns hold up well to strong chewing forces. Zirconia crowns can be hard to match, but some have a layer of porcelain for a more natural look.

  4. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns have a metal interior and porcelain exterior. The metal provides added durability, while the porcelain offers a natural look. Over time, you may notice a dark line near your gums where the metal is visible.

  5. Silver tooth caps come from stainless steel. Silver crowns most often repair baby teeth. They're durable enough to stay in place until the baby tooth falls out.
    • Appearance. You may prefer a crown with a natural appearance to help you feel confident about your smile. If the crown is over a back tooth, appearance may be less of a concern.

    • Durability. Some types of dental crowns are more durable than others. Crowns made of porcelain may chip, while those made from gold or other metals will rarely chip or break.

    • Cost. Dental crown cost varies depending on the material you choose. If you have dental insurance, your plan may cover some of the cost. Talk with your dentist about your budget.
  6. Which Type of Tooth Crown is Best for Your Teeth?

    All dental crowns have advantages and disadvantages, so discuss the best crown for your needs with your dentist. Smile Generation wants you to consider the following factors:

    How Much Does a Dental Crown Cost?

    In general, you can expect a dental crown price between $800 and $1,500. The type of crown you choose will affect your dental crown cost. For example, a porcelain crown costs an average of $1,219.36, according to the American Dental Association's 2018 Survey of Dental Fees. However, other types, such as porcelain-fused-to-metal, have a lower average cost of $1,082.38.

    Dental Crown Procedure

    Did you know it usually takes two (2) visits for a dental crown procedure? Some dentists offer same-day dental crowns. During your initial appointment, your dentist prepares the tooth that's receiving the crown. Next, your teeth need extra room for the new crown. So, your dentist files the top and sides of your tooth and impressions the reshaped tooth. These impressions go to a dental laboratory that will make your crown. Your dentist will then protect your prepared tooth with a temporary crown.

    When your new crown is ready in two (2) to three (3) weeks, you'll return for your second appointment. Your dentist removes your temporary crown and cements the permanent crown to your tooth. For more details about the step-by-step dental crown procedure, talk to your dentist.

    Does Getting a Crown Hurt?

    If your dentist recommends a tooth crown procedure, you may wonder: Does getting a crown hurt? Your dentist will likely use an injection of local anesthesia to numb the area. After the process, your crowned tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks. Do you feel pain when biting down? If so, the crown's fit may need to be adjusted.

    How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

    A crown typically lasts for five to 15 years, though this will vary depending on your lifestyle and oral health. The underlying tooth is prone to decay, so it's essential to brush twice per day and floss around the crown once per day. Avoid habits like chewing ice, biting your fingernails, or clenching and grinding your teeth may chip or crack the crown. Your crown may need replacement if you notice pain around the tooth or a receding gumline. In some instances, the cement that holds the crown in place can weaken. If your crown feels loose or falls off, contact your dentist.

    What Does a Tooth Crown Look Like?

    The appearance of your tooth crown will vary depending on its material. Some types of crowns look very similar to your natural teeth, like this porcelain-to-metal crown. Other types of crowns have a more noticeable appearance, like this gold crown.

    Tooth Crown Before and After

    Tooth crowns may have a dramatic impact on your smile. This photo shows teeth before and after receiving new ceramic crowns.

    How Do I Choose a Dentist for a Dental Crown?

    Many general dentists offer crown dental care. Smile Generation wants you to select the best dentist for your oral health needs. It would be best to read online reviews for local dentists or ask people you know for recommendations. If you have dental insurance, ask your insurance company for a list of local dentists that accept your coverage.

    Find the Best Dentist for Crowns Near You

    Need to find a good dentist near you? At The Smile Generation, you can find a qualified, local dentist to help with your crowns. Read patient reviews, browse staff bios, and request your first appointment online in minutes!