Did you find yourself asking, "What are dental crowns" after your dentist said you might need them? Your dental professional may have already told you that crowns are necessary for biting, chewing, and overall oral health. We'll provide more information on the types, most common reasons for getting them, and the range of benefits.
The hard white or off-white part of your teeth seen above the gum is called the dental crown. It covers and protects the inner part of the tooth from damage caused by bacteria or injury. A replacement dental crown, also called a cap, is usually required as a long-term tooth restoration option when the original crown is damaged or no longer viable. The new crown is customized to blend in with the color and shape of your other teeth. Your dentist will cement it into place over the visible portion of your tooth.
Types of Dental Crowns
You'll get a chance to choose the type of crown you prefer, which can include these popular types:
- Stainless steel crowns
- Metal crowns
- Ceramic crowns (includes zirconia crowns)
- Porcelain crowns
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns
- All-resin crowns
The durability and cost are factors that influence the choice of crowns. Restorative dental crowns can last anywhere from 5-15 years, but the lifespan of crowns ultimately depends upon how well you care for your teeth and gums.
Common Reasons for Dental Crowns
A crown may be medically necessary to improve bite function, although some patients get it for aesthetic reasons. You may need it to protect a weak or cracked tooth from breaking or restore a severely worn down or broken tooth. It can be used to cover a severely discolored or crooked tooth or cap a root canal that has a large filling. Crowns are also placed over dental implants (artificial tooth roots) and used as abutments (anchors) for dental bridges.
Replacement Dental Crowns Benefits
You can receive a new dental crown or cap for a front or back tooth. It will look, feel, and function like your natural teeth and can last approximately 10 years. Other benefits include:
- Restore the shape and strength of your tooth
- Ability to bite, chew, and improve speech
- Protect the underlying tooth (or implant) from further decay or damage
- Enhance the appearance of your smile
- Extend the life of the tooth or eliminate the need for extraction
Your dentist will need to prepare your tooth for the crown procedure. Preparation may include gum disease or root canal treatment and fillings to ensure the crown is placed over a healthy tooth. Overall, the treatment time will depend on the health of your teeth and gums and other factors. You may be fitted with a temporary crown until the new, permanent crown is fabricated at the lab.
Your Smile is Our Business. Call for an Appointment Today
We can improve your smile and tooth function with dental crowns in just two visits to our office. At your consultation, our board-certified and experienced dentists will perform an oral exam and take x-rays to help you decide if and which type of dental crown is right for you. Some patients see greater benefits in procedures like dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and dental implants. Our end goal is to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile.