What Dental Crowns Are

Dental crowns (John T Green DDS) are used to cover a compromised tooth and restore it to a healthy state. If a tooth has decay beyond that of which a filling can restore, a crown may need to be placed. Crowns are often also used to restore a root canal treated tooth, on dental bridges, or to restore a dental implant.  Crowns are a fixed restoration and cannot be taken out as a denture can, instead, they are cemented directly to the tooth. Your dentist may recommend a crown to:

  • Replace a large filling
  • Protect a compromised tooth from cracking
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Restore a dental implant
  • Restore a root canal treated tooth

How do crowns work?

Most patients choose to have their crown made with materials that can be tinted to match their other teeth, such as porcelain or ceramic. While porcelain is a strong, aesthetically pleasing material, gold or other base metals are another option but cannot be made to match the color of your other teeth.

A ¾ crown does not cover the entire tooth and keeps more natural tooth structure than a full crown. A full crown covers the entire surface of the tooth, extending beyond the gum line for a good fit. A tooth that has been root canal treated is usually restored with a crown to ensure the integrity of the tooth. A root canal treated tooth can weaken over time and a crown will prevent it from becoming damaged.

If you have had a tooth extracted and an implant placed, an implant crown is used to cover the implant and bring back the form and function of your bite. An implant crown can either be cemented to the implant or screwed into the implant.

How are crowns made?

For a tooth with extensive decay, your Dentist will begin by preparing the tooth and removing all decay as well as a small amount of enamel on all surfaces to allow room for the crown to be placed with a tight fit. If your Dentist has the technology to make your crown in the office, they will scan your tooth so the machine can fabricate your new crown while you wait and you can leave that day with your permanent crown.

If they will be using a dental lab for your final crown, they will take impressions and you will leave your dental office with a temporary crown in place. It usually takes a couple of weeks for your Dentist to get your crown back from the lab so you will need to go back to the office to have your final crown set.

How long will my new crown last?

If you are diligent with your home oral care and continue regular visits to your dental office, crowns and bridges can last a lifetime! If your restoration should come loose or fall out, it is important to get to your dentist as quickly as possible so they can recement it. Teeth can shift and your crown may not fit if you wait too long. If your crown does come out, that could indicate a problem and you may end up needing a new one as recementing is a temporary fix.

More on Dental Crowns : How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?