So your first question may be: what in the heck is a dental crown? Well, a dental crown is something that you put on your most dominant, or “king tooth” as we call it. JUST KIDDING! What a dental crown really is a “cap” that completely covers an existing tooth in order to restore the tooth’s shape, size, strength and overall appearance. Once cemented in place, a cap or crown (these terms are interchangeable) completely covers the visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Why Might you Need a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are needed for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons may be:
- To protect or restore an already weak or broken tooth from weakening or breaking further
- To support and cover a tooth which has a large filling when there is little tooth left
- For cosmetic purposes, such as covering a severely discolored tooth
- Sometimes they are used to hold a dental bridge in place
- or to cover a dental implant
There are also many other reasons why a dental crown might be used, but these are some of the more common.
The Dental Crown Process
The process for getting a dental crown is a two visit process generally.
The First Visit
During your first visit the main goal is to prepare the tooth for the crown by doing a thorough examination of the subject tooth area. During this first visit, we may take a few X-rays to check the roots of the subject tooth and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp, then a root canal treatment may first be performed. Before the process of making a crown begins, the tooth and gum tissue around the subject tooth will be anesthetized (made numb). After that, the tooth receiving the crown will be filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. However, if a good portion of the tooth is missing due to decay or damage, a filling material may be used in order to “build up” the tooth to support the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, a paste or putty will be used to make an impression of the tooth to in order to receive the crown. This impression is then sent off to a lab where it usually takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the dental crown to come back. However, in the mean time, you will be given a temporary crown which will help to protect the tooth from weakening any further even while your permanent crown is being made.
The Second Visit
This visit is a fairly easy one. Once the crown has come in, you will come in for your second visit which will be when the permanent crown is actually placed on the tooth. If the crown comes back with the correct size, shape, and color; we will then place a local anesthetic on and around the subject tooth area and then permanently cement your new crown into place.
How Long do Dental Crowns Last?
On the average, a dental crown will last between five and fifteen years. The large time variance depends on many factors such as how good your daily oral hygiene habits are, and if you have any other bad habits such as teeth grinding, chewing ice, opening bottles with your teeth, etc..
The Cost of a Dental Crown
Costs of crowns vary depending on what part of the country you live in and on the type of crown is selected. For example, porcelain crowns are typically more expensive than gold crowns, which are typically more expensive than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. 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 first. If you don’t have insurance ask us about our dental financing options.
Do you need a dental crown? Contact us today to see if dental crowns are right for you.