Caring Smiles proudly offers natural-looking dental crowns to our patients. Here, we explain what dental crowns are, why you might need one, and how they are placed.
A dental crown, also known as a cap, is a tooth-shaped cover placed on top of a tooth. Dental crowns can hold together cracked or broken teeth, keep a bridge in place, disguise misshapen or discolored teeth, and cover teeth that cannot be fixed by a filling due to severe decay.
Crowns can be prefabricated or custom-made in a dental laboratory from a variety of materials, including porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), plastic, stainless steel, zirconia, gold, palladium, nickel, ceramic, or a combination of these. The type of material is often determined by where the tooth is in the mouth and your budget. If they are front teeth, we usually recommend that your crowns be made entirely of ceramic to look the most like natural teeth. If they’re back teeth, although metal is sometimes used, the most common crowns are porcelain-fused-to-metal or pressed-to-metal crowns, in which a special dental ceramic called lithium silicate is pressed to the underlying metal shell.
Crowns typically last at least seven years but can last much longer if you maintain outstanding oral hygiene to protect the tooth under the crown and adjacent teeth from developing cavities.
Before a crown is placed on a tooth damaged by decay, we will perform root canal therapy on your tooth to clean out its infected inner pulp. If large areas of your tooth are decayed, damaged, or missing, we will also need to build a stronger foundation that can adequately support the crown. After any infection is cleaned out and the tooth is sufficiently supported, we’ll need to file down your tooth to allow the crown to fit over it. We’ll take an impression of your tooth to send to our lab, which will make a custom crown for you. We’ll provide you with a temporary crown to wear while you’re waiting for your custom crown. Once the customized crown is ready, we’ll have you come back in so we can remove the temporary crown and permanently cement the customized one to your tooth.