Common medical questions and answers through blogs and articles

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns, otherwise known as ‘caps,’ are shell-like covers that are constructed to be placed over teeth that are in need of repair. More than 10 million people in the United States opt for dental crown procedures every year, and for good reason. Dental crowns are one of cosmetic dentistry’s most effective methods of restoring the necessary function of teeth. But that’s not all dental crowns do. They also help to restore the confidence and smiles of millions, one procedure at a time. If you’re someone who has suffered with loss of proper tooth function, strength, or appearance, you’ve likely been searching for a safe and effective way to get back to eating and looking as you once did. Dental crowns may be the answer for you.

What is a dental crown?

When caps or crowns are placed on teeth, they act as a kind of encasement. The crown is cemented in place over the part of the tooth that extends above the gums (the part that can be seen). Crowns are a very popular and effective method of correcting some dental problems, and they can be either temporary or permanent.

The dental crown procedure

Crowns typically are constructed by a cosmetic dentist in a dental office. Sometimes, however, permanent crowns are sent by a family dentist to a laboratory in order to be constructed there. Temporary crowns are used on patients who are awaiting their permanent crowns to be constructed by dental labs. The procedure, from beginning to end, typically takes two visits that are scheduled two to three weeks apart. In the first visit, your cosmetic dentist will shape your tooth (or teeth) and make a mold of the teeth that are being capped. Your dentist will then place a temporary crown until your second visit, and during this time you will await the construction of your crown. At the second visit, your dentist will cement the finished crown in place, and you will be all set!

How should I care for my new dental crown?

First, your dentist likely will suggest that you minimize using the side of your mouth that contains a temporary crown until your permanent crown replaces it. As with most dental procedures, it’s important that patients with dental crowns avoid sticky or chewy foods that have the power of grabbing onto crowns and pulling them out. It’s also vital that patients with crowns adhere to a regular dental hygiene routine that includes twice-daily brushing as well as once-daily flossing. When flossing, they should gently glide the floss in between teeth rather than lifting it up.

What are dental crowns made of?

There are a number of materials that can be used when making crowns. Often, the type of material will depend upon the cost of the crown, as some materials are more expensive than others. Most permanent crowns are made from ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, resin, or porcelain and metal.

Ceramic or porcelain crowns: Crowns that are made of all porcelain or all ceramic typically are selected because they look most like natural teeth. In addition, many dental patients who are receiving crowns choose porcelain or ceramic because they have allergies or sensitivities to metals. Ceramic or porcelain can also be chosen because these two materials look most like front teeth than other materials, and many patients are having front teeth capped.

Stainless steel crowns: Stainless steel crowns typically are utilized by dentists as temporary crowns while patients await construction of their permanent crowns. Stainless steel crowns are used to protect teeth in the meanwhile from further damage or decay.

Resin crowns: Crowns that are made of resin are often chosen because they are less costly than other materials. For this reason, resin crowns have become one of the most popular types of permanent crown available. However, resin crowns aren’t as strong as some of the other materials such as metal or porcelain.

Porcelain and metal: Crowns made of porcelain fused to metal often are chosen for their ability to withstand teeth functions such as biting and chewing better than most other materials. Porcelain is the material that is used on that part of the tooth which is visible. Crowns made of porcelain and metal are widely used for back or front teeth.

No one wants to suffer with the loss of optimal tooth function or appearance. Broken, chipped, weak, or discolored teeth don’t just make it hard to eat and speak properly. They also make it hard to present yourself to the world in the most positive light possible. If you’re looking for a procedure that will help you get back your attractive smile and best tooth function, contact a family dentist to schedule a consultation.

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