What is a Dental Crown?

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is an artificial cap that fits in place of a damaged or discolored tooth. Crowns are most often used to fully replace a tooth (in the case of a dental implant); or to help shape a broken tooth, or otherwise improve your mouth’s appearance.

These days, crowns are created mostly of porcelain or ceramics, but can also be made of gold, acrylic or metal alloys. Your dentist can recommend the appropriate material based on your oral needs.

Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?

  • Repair a broken tooth or a tooth that has been worn down
  • Repair and cover a tooth that has been treated by a root canal
  • Replace a missing tooth as part of a bridge
  • Replace a missing tooth on a dental implant
  • Cover discolored or poorly shaped teeth to improve aesthetic appearance
  • Repair or protect a tooth that has large amount of decay, chips or cracks 
  • Close minor gaps or fix minor tooth alignment issues

How Long Do Crowns Last?

Typically crowns last for about 10-15 years, although many patients will have their crowns for a lifetime. Zirconia crowns or full gold/metal crown are the longest lasting.

Crowns need to be replaced when they have chipped or broken, although most crown failures are caused by other issues such as decay of the tooth under the crown or by gum disease.  Proper oral hygiene is important in maintaining crowns.

How Long Does It Take for My Dentist to Install a Crown?

Until recently, getting a dental crown usually involved multiple visits and many hours in the dentist chair. Now, with the help of computer-aided design (and a process called CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic), teeth can often be prepped and crowns fitted in a matter of hours. Increasingly dental offices are equipped with their own labs, which speeds work and often allows for same-day fittings.

by Dental Departures

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