A dental crown is a covering that will wrap and protect the entire surface of a tooth, allowing it to look and function just like the original tooth. These restorations are placed to strengthen a tooth that has been weakened, cracked, decayed, or otherwise damaged. Dental crowns work to bolster a compromised tooth while protecting the existing structure, extending the life of the tooth longer than it would last with a tooth-colored filling or another restoration. Once fastened to the enamel, a crown should fit naturally within your bite and appear seamlessly among your surrounding teeth.
“I have had 2 crowns and a couple of fillings done by Dr. Griffiths; and with another couple of crowns to go. I have had an excellent experience at this office in all aspects. What I have noticed is that Dr. Griffiths takes his time and very meticulous with his work. At other dental offices I have gone to in the past, the dentist would go from room to room treating multiple patients. With Dr. Griffiths, he stays with you from start to finish. I would highly recommend this office.”
- What is a Dental Crown?
- Dental Crown Reasons
- Dental Crowns Benefits
- Dental Crown Candidates
- Crowns vs. Implants
- Types of Dental Crowns
- Dental Crowns Procedure
- Dental Crowns Recovery
- Dental Crown Results
- Dental Crown Cost
- Dental Crowns Complements
- Dental Crown FAQs
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a custom-designed restoration that is placed on top of a weak tooth. Acting as a protective “cap,” dental crowns can be used to provide support after a root canal, replace a missing tooth after implant surgery, or anchor and secure dental bridges. Most commonly, dental crowns are placed to address tooth damage that may be too extensive to repair with a filling. Although traditional dental crowns were made of a noticeable metal amalgam material, modern options for dental crowns more closely resemble natural tooth enamel and often remain undetectable within your smile. At Griffiths Smiles, we offer many different dental crowns to improve the strength and appearance of a damaged tooth. These restorations are long-lasting, do not require surgery, and require no additional maintenance besides normal brushing and flossing.
Reasons for Choosing a Dental Crown
Dental crowns are very versatile restorations that can be used alone, or in conjunction with dental implants and bridges to replace missing or lost teeth. Crowns can correct a variety of problems you might be experiencing with your teeth, including repairing:
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Severely decayed teeth
- Cosmetic imperfections
- Fractured fillings
In addition to saving a damaged tooth, dental crowns can also serve as additional protection after a root canal. While a consultation is truly the best way to determine whether a crown is the best treatment option for your unique needs, this restoration can offer functional and aesthetic advantages for a wide range of patients.
What are the Benefits of Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is one of the most modern, effective, and frequently utilized restorations in dentistry. Crowns not only help repair damage sustained by a tooth, but they also protect the enamel from additional harm. In addition to its restorative capabilities, a dental crown also:
- Resembles a natural tooth, helping ensure realistic results
- Provides durable results that last years
- Does not require anesthesia or surgery
- Reinforces a tooth, helping prevent an extraction
Dental crowns are usually most successful when there is moderate to severe decay or structural loss in a tooth. For mild issues, a composite tooth-colored filling may be enough to restore the enamel. A filling does not require any tooth preparation before treatment and can treat cavities, minor chips, and other minor imperfections. In other cases, an inlay or onlay can be used to repair the damage.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Crowns?
A dental crown can benefit individuals who require additional protection for one or more teeth. If you have a cavity that’s too large to be addressed with a filling, a crown is generally recommended to restore the affected tooth. This restoration can be an excellent solution to rehabilitate teeth that have been:
- Broken or cracked
- Decayed or weakened
- Infected, but treated with a root canal
Crowns are generally reserved for more functional concerns, such as situations where a damaged tooth is making it difficult to bite. If you experience cracks or chips in the enamel that affect the appearance of your smile but do not threaten tooth function, porcelain veneers may be enough to fix minor cosmetic imperfections. Dr. Mark Griffiths, our highly skilled cosmetic dentist, can present you with the entirety of your treatment options during your appointment.
Dental Crowns vs. Dental Implants
Dental crowns and dental implants are utilized for very different purposes. Both treatments are used in restorative dentistry to rehabilitate a patient’s smile; however, crowns are mainly intended to address a damaged yet intact tooth, while implants are used to actually replace missing teeth. That said, a dental crown is often utilized in complement with an implant to restore a fully functioning tooth, with the implant acting as the tooth root and the crown serving as the tooth body.
Another area of distinction involves the method of treatment. Since dental implants are designed like a natural tooth root, they require oral surgery to be anchored into the jawbone. In contrast, treatment with dental crowns is minimally invasive — there is no surgery, healing period, or downtime required. Furthermore, a dental implant is generally reserved solely for patients who need to replace one or more missing teeth. Dental crowns are used in a variety of different treatments, including dental bridge placement, the dental implant procedure, root canal therapy, and more.
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns can be fabricated from many different materials, which each vary in their longevity and ability to blend harmoniously with your smile. Our Bankers Hill practice primarily offers three types of dental crowns:
All Porcelain: All porcelain crowns are one of the most aesthetically pleasing restorative options, as they are translucent and bear a strong resemblance to natural tooth enamel. That said, porcelain restorations are generally only recommended to restore the front teeth. When these crowns are placed in the back teeth, the risk of fracture typically increases.
Gold: While they do not look as natural among your surrounding teeth when compared to other options, gold dental crowns can be incredibly durable and effective when placed discreetly over the back molars. Due to its inherent strength, a gold crown can be particularly well-suited for individuals who tend to clench or grind their teeth. They are also considered structurally similar to natural teeth, allowing the surrounding soft tissues to readily adapt to the crown. These restorations also offer the benefit of requiring minimal tooth preparation before placement, allowing you to retain more of your natural enamel.
Porcelain Fused to Metal: A dental crown made of porcelain fused to metal can offer the strength of a gold crown with the aesthetic appeal of a porcelain restoration. This type of crown is composed of a metal base fused to a porcelain exterior, providing patients with both beauty and durability. The risk of potential fractures is present, but only the outer portion of the crown is typically damaged in the event of a chip or break.
How is the Dental Crown Procedure Performed?
Placing a dental crown typically requires two in-office appointments to complete the process. During your first visit, any existing decay will be removed and the surface of the damaged tooth will be shaped to achieve a natural and comfortable fit for your dental crown. Impressions of your teeth will also be taken at this time, which will then be sent to an advanced dental lab for fabrication. Dr. Griffiths will place a temporary crown to complete your smile until your long-term restoration is manufactured.
Once your custom-designed crown is ready for placement, Dr. Griffiths will affix your dental crown over the top of your tooth. Our team will check for biting and spacing issues before you leave to ensure a comfortable fit for your crown is achieved.
Is There Recovery After Getting Dental Crowns?
While there’s no extensive downtime required after the dental crowns procedure, the effects of the numbing medication can last for several hours. During this time, we advise you to avoid eating altogether and drinking any hot beverages to avoid unknowingly burning or biting yourself. After the numbing agent has worn off, patients can eat as they normally would while refraining from any sticky foods. It’s usually best to chew on the untreated side of your mouth if possible. Minor bruising and swelling are common after treatment, but should resolve naturally.
Sensitivity around your gums or general discomfort as you become accustomed to wearing your dental crown may occur. Over-the-counter medications are usually enough to manage these reactions. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Bankers Hill if you have any concerns about discomfort or an ill-fitting crown.
How Long Will Dental Crowns Last?
Dental crowns are designed to be long-lasting, but a replacement may be necessary in the future if the crown is damaged by decay or injury. In most cases, a crown can offer protection for years—if not decades. Gold dental crowns, especially, can be very enduring with routine maintenance. Dr. Griffiths recommends maintaining good oral hygiene habits to maximize the lifespan of your crown, such as keeping up with daily brushing and flossing, as well as attending your twice-yearly dental check-ups. If you are prone to teeth grinding or clenching, we also advise wearing a mouthguard or night guard to protect your crowns from unnecessary wear and tear.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
A dental crown typically costs between $1,100 and $1,400 depending on the unique details of your dental plan. Factors that may influence the total cost of treatment include:
- The materials used to create your dental crown
- The location of the affected tooth
- Whether preliminary treatments were necessary before crown placement
Our office will be able to assess the cost of your treatment after Dr. Griffiths evaluates your needs in a consultation. To help ensure high-quality crowns are accessible to a wide range of patients, Griffiths Smiles accepts dental financing from CareCredit® for qualified patients. The payment options available via CareCredit® can help approved individuals pay for out-of-pocket expenses through low monthly installments rather than a lump sum. If you have any questions about our insurance or financing policies, please don’t hesitate to call our Bankers Hill practice.
Do Other Treatments Use Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is frequently used in combination with other treatments to fully restore the health and beauty of a tooth. Most often, a crown is used to assist in the dental implants procedure. Designed to replace a missing tooth, the implant acts as the artificial root while a crown is secured to the implant as the tooth body. Together, they form a fully-functioning restoration.
Another option to fill missing spaces in your smile involves a dental bridge, which is also often secured via dental crowns. Regardless of whether you’re missing a single tooth or multiple consecutive teeth, crowns are bonded to the healthy adjacent teeth in order to anchor the dental bridge. This allows patients to restore a portion of their smile without oral surgery. Furthermore, dental crowns are placed to help protect an infected tooth after a root canal and can even be utilized during an extensive Smile Makeover. With the ability to restore teeth for a wide range of patient needs, dental crowns are invaluable to restorative dentistry.
Additional Dental Crown FAQs
Can you get dental crowns on front teeth?
Yes, dental crowns are most commonly placed to strengthen the back molars but the restoration can certainly be placed to strengthen the front teeth as well. If your front tooth is cracked, broken, or decayed, an all-porcelain or ceramic crown can both be effective options to help the crown remain inconspicuous. In some cases, patients may be better served with a porcelain veneer, which can be placed over a front tooth to mask and conceal a number of dental flaws. Our team would be happy to evaluate your tooth and present you with the most optimal treatment(s) for your concerns.
Are there any alternatives to dental crowns?
There are many restorations that can be used to repair weak or broken teeth and the best option for you depends on the severity of the issues you seek to correct. Porcelain veneers, composite bonding, and cosmetic fillings are all capable of addressing mild structural damage, while inlays, onlays, and implants can be useful in correcting more severe concerns. A consultation with Dr. Griffiths can help shed light on whether crowns are the most ideal solution for your teeth and smile.
Can I eat normally after getting dental crowns?
Dr. Griffiths will provide you with detailed instructions regarding what you can expect after receiving a dental crown. While your temporary crown is in place, he may advise you to stick to a soft-food diet since these restorations are less durable than permanent crowns. After you progress to your permanent dental crown, it’s generally wise to avoid chewing hard or sticky foods on that side of your mouth to help minimize unnecessary damage.
Do dental crowns hurt?
Most patients report that treatment with dental crowns is no more painful than getting a regular filling to address a cavity. A local numbing agent and/or anesthesia may be utilized to enhance the comfort of your treatment depending on your needs. While the area may feel sensitive or tender immediately after your appointment, dental crowns should eventually begin to feel like a natural part of your mouth.
After your appointment, we’ll encourage you to follow up with our team regularly. While proper oral hygiene is essential, you will also require regular dental care to ensure your dental crown remains in its best possible state. Please contact Griffiths Smiles today if you have a question about our restorative dental services, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mark Griffiths.