Curious about crowns? Here’s what you need to know.
Crowns are a popular solution for a number of dental concerns, but if you’ve never had one placed before, chances are you’re more than a little curious about what they are, how they work, and how much it might cost.
If a dental crown is in your future, here’s everything you need to know as a patient.
What is a crown and why might you need one?
A dental crown is a type of tooth restorative that completely encapsulates a weakened or problematic tooth with a durable material like ceramic or zirconia. Crowns are very strong, long-lasting, and are color-matched for a very natural finish.
Crowns and caps are two different things.
You may hear people using the terms “crown” and “cap” interchangeably. Our modern crowns are very different from the dental caps from back in the day and it’s best to stick with the term “crown” to avoid confusion.
When discussing crowns with your dentist, it also helps prevent a possible misunderstanding between a true dental crown or the use of a cap which usually refers to another procedure, such as capping teeth with veneers.
Dental Problems Crowns Can Fix
Dental crowns are super versatile and can be used for a number of different dental problems, including:
- Badly damaged or broken teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Chronically sensitive teeth
- Permanently discolored teeth
Dental crowns are generally viewed as restorative in nature, but they may also be considered cosmetic, for example, when placing a crown to cover a healthy but stained tooth.
Lab-Created Crowns versus Same-Day Crowns
Lab-created crowns are very popular and require the help of a dental lab with a team of dental ceramists who design your crown. Same-day (or single appointment) crowns are another option.
If you need several crowns, then lab-created is usually the approach your dentist will recommend. For a single tooth, occasionally your dentist may recommend a ceramic crown instead. You’ll find that lab-created and single visit crowns are often very similar in appearance, endurance, and cost.
Process of Getting a Lab-Created Crown
After determining that a crown is needed, your dentist will perform any necessary treatment procedures, such as decay removal or root canal therapy. From there, impressions will be taken of the tooth so the lab will be able to create a crown that will fit perfectly over the existing tooth.
This mold, along with any necessary digital pictures of your smile, will be sent off to the lab and your dentist will either fit you with a temporary filling or temporary crown while you wait. Within a couple of weeks, your finished crown will be sent back to your dentist’s office and you’ll come in to have it permanently placed.
Process of Getting a Same-Day Crown
Getting a same-day crown starts off the same way as a lab-created crown. Your tooth will be prepped and you’ll have a laser scan done to create a 3D digital mold of the tooth. Dr. Alhadef will be able to manipulate this 3D model to create the perfect crown to fit your tooth shape and ensure your bite alignment will be seamless.
From there the CEREC machine will be used to mill the ceramic crown. Within an hour you’ll have your newly created crown permanently placed, polished, and you’ll be leaving your appointment with a confident smile.
Life Expectancy of Dental Crowns and Treated Teeth
The average dental crown will last well over 10 years and possibly upwards of 15 or more with proper care.
It’s hard to determine exactly how long a porcelain crown will last as there are many factors at play. If you maintain your dental health and eat a nutritious tooth-friendly diet, your crown is likely to last longer. On the flip side, if you grind your teeth, eat a lot of hard foods or candies, or are high risk for developing tooth decay, your crown may wear down more quickly.
Extending the Life of Your Dental Crown
You can help your crown last as long as possible by avoiding very sticky, crunchy, or hard food and chewing habits, such as crunching on ice or chewing on the ends of pens.
If you experience bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), seeking treatment from your dentist and general physician can extend the life of your crowns and ease other side-effects, like jaw soreness. There are also specialized BruxZir ultra-strength zirconia crowns that are designed to last longer in patients who grind their teeth.
Oral health also plays a significant role. While a crown completely covers your tooth, that doesn’t mean surrounding tooth decay or gum disease can’t still affect the health of your tooth. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily will help prevent tooth decay as well as keep your gums healthy.
Don’t forget to see your dentist every six months and get a professional cleaning to remove the built-up plaque.
When Crowns Wear Down or Break
Crowns are a permanent type of treatment in the sense that once you have a crown, you’ll always need to have the treated tooth crowned. If your crown wears down or breaks, there are two options.
If your dentist deems your tooth healthy and strong, you can simply get another crown placed. If your dentist determines that the tooth is no longer healthy, another course of treatment will be needed to either try to save the tooth or remove it.
Overall Costs of Dental Crowns and Treatment
Dental care can be pricey so naturally one of the most common questions we get from patients is, “How much will a dental crown cost?”
Like most forms of dental care, there isn’t a one-price-fits-all option, as every patient is different and every treatment plan is based on individual needs. The only way to know exactly how much your crown will cost is through a consultation with Dr. Alhadef. That being said, you can compare the potential costs of a crown to other alternatives to determine whether the value of a crown is worth it.
Cost vs Value of Dental Crown Treatment
When it comes to investing in something like a home remodel you’ll hear phrases like R.O.I and cost vs value. In some aspects, this actually isn’t so different from investing in your oral health with dental care. While an exact price for a dental crown needs to come directly from your dentist, you can think about the cost versus value of getting a crown in the meantime.
When significant tooth damage has occurred, a crown often ends up being the least expensive solution compared to alternatives. Let’s take severe tooth decay as our example.
If a filling is no longer an option, your dentist will likely recommend removing the decay, possibly a root canal, and then a crown to finish. If you decide to not get the crown, your tooth structure will be left very weak. After some time your tooth may completely break and require an extraction. After your extraction, you’re either left without a tooth or will end up needing a dental implant or a bridge.
In this situation, a crown ends up being drastically less expensive and time-consuming than pursuing the alternatives.
Schedule an appointment with Dallas Cosmetic Dental for your new crown.
If you suspect you need a crown or were previously told by a dentist you need a crown, come see Dr. Alhadef at Dallas Cosmetic Dental for help.
We offer two different types of crowns, E-MAX ceramic crowns and BruxZir solid zirconia crowns. Both options are beautiful, life-like, and durable. E-MAX crowns are the most popular choice, but Dr. Alhadef may guide you towards BruxZir crowns if you regularly grind or clench your teeth.
When you’re ready to come in for a visit, you can either give our office a call or fill out our online appointment request form.