Dental crowns, sometimes called teeth caps, are placed over a tooth to cover it and restore its shape, size and strength and to improve its appearance. When it is cemented into place, the tooth crown encases the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Crowns might be needed for one of many reasons:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
- To make a cosmetic modification
Are dental crowns ever appropriate for children?
Dental crowns are sometimes used on primary (baby) teeth to protect teeth that are so decayed they can’t support a filling or to protect teeth that are at risk of continued decay.
What are dental crowns made of?
Crowns are made of a variety of materials depending on their specific use. Tooth crowns made of stainless steel, gold or composite metals are durable, but because they can be unsightly they are often used only on back teeth. Crowns made of porcelain fused to metal can be colored to look like other teeth, but they can cause wear on neighboring teeth. Dental Crowns also are made of resin, all porcelain or all ceramic. Talk with the dentist about what material might be best for your needs.
How many visits should I expect to make to the dentist?
Preparing a tooth for a crown usually requires two visits to the dentist.
- First Visit: During the first visit, the dentist will examine and prepare the tooth. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection to the tooth’s pulp, a root canal might be required. The prepare for the tooth crown, the dentist numbs the tooth and gum around it then files the chewing surface and the sides to make room for the crown. After reshaping the tooth, the dentist will use paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth. The impression is sent to a lab that will make the permanent crown. Before you leave the first visit, the dentist will insert a temporary crown to cover the exposed tooth.
- During the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent crown into place.
How long do dental crowns tend to last?
Dental crowns last between five and 15 years. They don’t require any special care, but you should brush and floss regularly just like you were caring for your normal teeth.
How much do dental crowns cost?
Generally, crowns can range in cost from $500 to $900 or more per crown. A portion of the cost of crowns is generally covered by insurance. To be certain, check with your dental insurance company.