Dental Crown

What is a dental crown ?

A dental crown is a prosthetic device used to restore the shape, size, strength, and appearance of a damaged tooth. It is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a prepared tooth to cover it entirely, starting from the gum line. Dental crowns are commonly made of materials such as porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination of materials.

Dental Crown

Dental crowns serve several purposes :

  • Protection : They provide protection and support to a tooth that has been weakened by decay, cracks, or fractures. A crown can prevent further damage and preserve the tooth’s structure ;
  • Restoration : Crowns are used to restore the shape, size, and function of a tooth that has been significantly decayed, broken, or worn down. They can restore a tooth’s ability to bite and chew properly ;
  • Cosmetic enhancement : Dental crowns can enhance the aesthetics of teeth that are misshapen, discolored, or severely stained, improving their overall appearance. They can also be used to correct minor misalignments and close gaps between teeth ;

To get a dental crown, the dentist follows a multi-step process. Initially, he removes decay or damaged areas of the tooth and reshape it to create space for the crown. An impression of the prepared tooth is then taken to create a custom-made crown that fits precisely. During the fabrication of the permanent crown in a dental laboratory, a temporary crown  may placed to safeguard the prepared tooth. Once the permanent crown is ready, it is cemented onto the tooth using dental adhesive.

With proper care and oral hygiene, dental crowns can last for many years, providing long-lasting functionality and aesthetic improvement. Regular dental check-ups are important to ensure the health and longevity of the crown and the underlying tooth structure.

Why have a dental crown made

There are several reasons why a dental crown may be recommended or necessary :

  • Tooth decay : When a tooth has severe decay that cannot be repaired with a filling, the use of a crown is may required to restore its form and function ;
  • Tooth damage : If a tooth is fractured, cracked, or broken, a dental crown can provide strength and protection, preventing further damage and potential tooth loss;
  • Root canal treatment : After undergoing a root canal procedure, a tooth can become weak and brittle. Placing a crown over the treated tooth helps to protect it and restore its strength ;
  • Large fillings : When a tooth has a large filling, it may be at risk of fracturing. A dental crown can cover and protect the remaining tooth structure, providing added stability and support ;
  • Cosmetic reasons : Dental crowns can be used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of teeth. They can enhance the shape, size, color, and alignment of teeth, resulting in a more pleasing smile ;
  • Tooth wear : Teeth that are severely worn down due to bruxism (teeth grinding), acid erosion, or other factors can benefit from crowns to restore their natural size, shape, and function ;
  • Dental implants : A dental crown is typically placed on top of a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. It acts as a prosthetic tooth that looks and functions like a natural tooth ;

The decision to have a dental crown made depends on the specific condition of your tooth and the recommendation of your dentist. They will evaluate your oral health, discuss the available options, and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

Dental crowns price

The cost of dental crowns can vary depending on several factors, including the location, the dentist’s experience and expertise, the type of crown material used, the complexity of the case, and any additional procedures required.

Please keep in mind that the prices mentioned here are approximate and can vary considerably  :

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns : These crowns, which have a metal core covered with porcelain, typically range in price from $100 to $300 per crown ;
  • All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns : These crowns, which do not contain any metal, are generally more expensive and can cost between $100 and $300 per crown ;
  • Metal crowns : These crowns, made from alloys such as gold or base metals, are generally the least expensive option and can range in price from $200 to $400 per crown ;
  • Zirconia crowns : Zirconia is a high-quality ceramic material known for its strength and aesthetics. Zirconia crowns typically range in price from $200 to $500 per crown ;

It’s important to note that these prices are just estimates, and the actual cost may vary depending on your specific situation and geographic location. Additionally, these prices typically cover the cost of the crown itself but may not include additional procedures such as tooth preparation, X-rays, anesthesia, or any necessary dental work before crown placement.

Can a dental crown repair a chipped tooth ?

Yes, a dental crown can repair a chipped tooth. When a tooth is chipped or has a significant portion of its structure damaged, a dental crown can be an effective solution to restore its shape, strength, and function.

Here’s how the process typically works :

  • Evaluation : Your dentist will examine the chipped tooth and assess the extent of the damage. They will determine if a dental crown is the appropriate treatment option based on the size and location of the chip ;
  • Tooth preparation : To accommodate the dental crown, the tooth will need to be prepared. This involves removing any damaged or compromised tooth structure and shaping it to create space for the crown. In some cases, a filling may be placed to build up the tooth if there is a significant loss of structure ;
  • Impressions : Once the tooth is prepared, your dentist will take impressions or digital scans of the tooth and the surrounding teeth. These impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory to fabricate a custom-made crown that matches the shape, color, and size of your natural teeth ;
  • Temporary crown : While your permanent crown is being created, a temporary crown may be placed over the prepared tooth to protect it. The temporary crown is typically made of acrylic or composite material and is not as durable as the final crown ;
  • Crown placement : After the fabrication of your permanent crown, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and carefully place the permanent crown, ensuring it fits well, feels comfortable, and looks aesthetically pleasing. If everything looks and feels good, the permanent crown will be cemented onto the prepared tooth using dental adhesive. The dentist will ensure that the crown is properly aligned with your bite and make any necessary adjustments ;

A dental crown can provide a long-lasting and natural-looking solution for a chipped tooth. It restores the tooth’s structure, protects it from further damage, and enhances its appearance. However, it’s important to note that the specific treatment plan may vary depending on the severity and location of the chip, as well as other individual factors. Consulting with a dentist will provide you with a personalized evaluation and recommendation.

What are the different types of dental crowns ?

There are several types of dental crowns available, each with its own advantages and considerations. The selection of crown material is influenced by various factors, including tooth position, aesthetic considerations, available tooth structure, and individual preferences.

Here are several prevalent types of dental crowns to consider:

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns : These crowns have a metal base or substructure covered with a layer of tooth-colored porcelain. They offer good strength and esthetics, combining the durability of the metal with a natural appearance. However, the metal substructure can sometimes result in a slightly opaque appearance at the gum line ;
  • All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain crowns : These crowns do not contain any metal and are preferred for their excellent esthetics, as they closely resemble natural teeth in color and translucency. They are a suitable option for front teeth or visible areas. All-ceramic crowns can be made from materials like porcelain, zirconia, or lithium disilicate, providing good strength and durability. However, they may be more prone to fracture compared to metal-based crowns ;
  • Metal crowns : Metal crowns, such as gold alloy or base metal alloys, are known for their exceptional strength and durability. They require less tooth structure removal and are less abrasive to opposing teeth. Metal crowns are less esthetically pleasing as they have a metallic appearance and are typically used for back teeth where esthetics is not a primary concern ;
  • Zirconia crowns : Zirconia is a type of ceramic material known for its strength and excellent esthetics. Zirconia crowns offer both durability and a natural appearance. They are highly resistant to fracture and can be a good choice for both front and back teeth ;
  • Composite resin crowns : These types of dental crowns are crafted using a composite resin material that matches the natural color of teeth. They are a more affordable option but are less durable than other types of crowns. Composite resin crowns are typically used as temporary or interim solutions or for pediatric dentistry ;
  • Stainless steel crowns : Stainless steel crowns are primarily used in pediatric dentistry to restore severely decayed or damaged primary (baby) teeth. They are prefabricated and placed temporarily until the baby tooth naturally falls out ;

It’s important to consult with a dentist to determine the most suitable type of crown based on your specific needs, including esthetic concerns, durability requirements, and budget considerations. The dentist will consider various factors to recommend the best crown material for your individual case.

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