Your teeth are composed of two main parts: the crown and root. The crown is the part visible above the gum line. The root is the part below the gum line, holding your tooth firmly in your jawbone. It’s fairly common for people to experience stains, unevenness, weakening, or decay of their crowns. When this happens, artificial crowns can be used to restore or strengthen them, returning your smile to something you can be proud of.
What’s the Purpose of a Crown?
Crowns are like a permanent “cap” for your tooth, covering it entirely. They can be used on teeth that have cosmetic issues like stains and decay, as well as repairing chipped or broken teeth and protecting weak ones from breaking. If you need a bridge, a crown can be used to attach it.
“As a senior (over 70) I’ve had a life-long battle with soft, decay prone teeth. I was at the point of my 3rd set of crowns (or implants which I could not afford) and had been to four other dentists (including specialists) for consults. They all gave me a different treatment plan which was confusing and disheartening. Then I met with Dr Curtis who gave me “straight talk” and various options to save my teeth at this stage of life. Both he and his daughter, Dr. Kelly, are skilled, patient and informative with their patients and staff. Additionally, during procedures, the staff receives the benefit of what I call “on-going” continuing education through the generous, instructional dialog by both Doctors. Plus, Dr Curtis has a fine, well-tuned sense of humor!”
Types of Crowns
There are four main types of crowns, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Gold alloy
- Base metal alloys
Ceramic crowns are best for blending with the other teeth, generally making them the most aesthetically pleasing. Gold alloys and porcelain-fused to metal are strong crown options. Porcelain-fused-to-metal tends to blend better with the teeth than gold, but many people prefer the way gold alloys look in comparison.
A dentist will be able to make recommendations based on your unique needs and preferences.
How Crowns Are Placed
Crowns are generally placed over two dental visits. During the first visit, the dentist will examine the tooth to make sure it will hold a crown. Then it’s time to prepare the tooth, which may consist of filing it down or filling it.
Once the tooth is the proper shape and size, impressions are taken of it and the surrounding teeth so that the crown can be made to fit like a glove. The impressions are sent to the lab to create the crown, and a temporary crown holds its place until the final product is ready. This typically takes anywhere from a few days to a week.
During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is fixed to the tooth with adhesive. After this step, crowns usually won’t require any more dentistry to function like natural teeth. Crowns can last a lifetime if you properly care for them with a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and dental visits.
If you have any questions about crowns and how they may benefit you, schedule your consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the purpose of a dental crown?
A dental crown has many purposes, but a few common ones are:
- Keep a tooth from breaking apart
- Hold together pieces of an already broken tooth
- Join a large filling on a tooth with little support left
- Hold a dental bridge in place
- Cover a dental implant
How long do dental crowns last?
With proper care and regular visits to our office, your crown can last about 10 years.
What special care does a crowned tooth require?
Luckily, a dental crown doesn’t require any special care. Simply brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day will suffice. Just be sure to clean around the crown as you would around any of your other teeth.
Do dental crowns hurt?
It’s normal to feel a bit of sensitivity or discomfort following the administering of a crown. However, we use top-of-the-line techniques and equipment to minimize the amount of pain.