Dental Crowns

As the jubilee weekend approaches and we enjoy another long weekend break of hopefully more sunshine and celebrations, we take some much needed time and care for ourselves mentally, why not also consider taking care of our overall health, through the window to our body, our oral health. To keep on the jubilee weekend theme, crowns, lets find out a bit more about them:

Dental crowns are cemented into place on your tooth and they cover the visible portion of the tooth. Throughout your lifetime, your teeth may get damaged. There are many reasons to cause this, like tooth decay, injuries or just use or erosion over time. Your teeth may lose their shape or size. Dental crowns are tooth shaped caps that are placed over your prepared tooth. The crown restores your original tooth’s shape, size, strength and appearance.

Do I need a crown?

You may need a crown for several reasons, including:

  • Being the reigning member of the royal family, king or queen.
  • Protecting a weak tooth (possibly from decay) from breaking or to keep the weak tooth together if parts of it are cracked.
  • Placing on top of a dental implant.
  • Placing over a tooth that has had a with a root canal.
  • Restoring a broken tooth or a severely worn down tooth.
  • Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling and not much tooth remaining.
  • Holding a dental bridge in place.

What are onlays and partial crowns?

Crowns come in different varieties which that can be used on your teeth. Onlays and partial crowns are types of dental crowns that cover less of your natural tooth than traditional dental crowns. A traditional crown will cover your entire tooth. Onlays and partial crowns may be appropriate when you still have a solid tooth structure. It’s considered a more conservative approach compared to full coverage of your crown. In this procedure, your dentist removes the affected area and prepares your tooth before placing the final crown..

What can crowns be made of?

  • Metal: There are several metals that can be used in dental crowns, including gold, palladium, nickel and chromium. Metal crowns rarely chip or break, last the longest in terms of wear down and only require a small amount of your tooth to be removed. They can also withstand biting and chewing forces. The metallic color is the main drawback of this type of crown. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.
  • Porcelain bonded: This type of dental crown can be matched to the color of the teeth that’s next to the crown. They have a more natural tooth color. However, sometimes the metal under the crown’s porcelain cap shows through as a dark line. Other cons include the chance of the crown’s porcelain portion chipping or breaking off and the crown wearing down the teeth opposite it within the mouth. This wear on the other teeth specifically affects the teeth that come into contact with the crown on the top and bottom of your mouth when it’s closed. Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.
  • Emax: Dental crowns made out of resin are generally less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more likely to break than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
  • All-ceramic or all-porcelain: These types of dental crowns provide the best natural color match compared to any other crown type. They’re also a good choice if you have metal allergies. However, they aren’t as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. They can also wear down the teeth opposite them in the mouth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.
  • Pressed ceramic: These dental crowns have a hard inner core. Pressed ceramic dental crowns replace the metal liner that’s used in the all-ceramic crown-making process. Pressed ceramic crowns are capped with porcelain, which provides the best natural color match. They’re also more long-lasting than an all-porcelain crown.

Step by step

There will normally be 2 visits to the dentist to prepare for a dental crown. You will be instructed of this appointment schedule after your check up appointment. Xrays may be taken and your teeth examined and you may need a root canal in some instances before placing your crown also if there are further signs of decay, risk of infection or injury to the pulp of the tooth ( the soft tissue inside your teeth that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.)

The first visit

The tooth that’s receiving the crown will be filed down across the top and sides. This will make space for the crown itself. The amount of tooth that gets filed away depends on the type of crown you have. All metal dental crowns are thinner and don’t need as much of the tooth removed as all porcelain or porcelain bonded crowns. If too much of your tooth is missing due to damage or decay a filling material can be used to build up enough tooth structure for the crown to cover.

After reshaping the tooth, a paste or putty is used to make a copy (impression) of the tooth that’s going to receive the crown. Impressions of the teeth above and below the tooth that’s getting the dental crown will also be made. This is done to make sure that the crown will not affect your bite.

The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory. The laboratory makes the crowns and usually returns them to the dentist’s office in two to three weeks. During this first office visit, your dentist will make a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while you’re waiting on the permanent crown.

We also reserve an impression in the instance that the temporary may become dislodged for any reason, we do ask you to return within 24-48 hours if this is the case and we would be able to apply a temporary promptly until the crown returns from the lab.

The second visit

At the second visit, the permanent crown is placed on your tooth. First, the temporary crown is removed and the fit and color of the permanent crown is checked. If everything is okay, a local anesthetic is sometimes used to numb the tooth and the new crown is permanently cemented in place.


What problems can develop with a dental crown?

There are several issues that you might experience over time with your crown, including:

  • Sensitivity: A newly crowned tooth may be sensitive immediately after the procedure as the anesthesia begins to wear off. If the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it, you may experience some heat and cold sensitivity. Your dentist might recommend that you brush your teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Pain or sensitivity that happens when you bite down usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, call your dentist. This problem is easily fixed.
  • Crown falls off: A dental crown can actually fall off. When this happens, it’s usually due to an improper fit or a lack of cement. If this happens to you, reach out to your dentist’s office immediately. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your tooth and crown until you can come in for an appointment. The dentist may be able to re-cement your crown in place. If the crown can’t be put back in place, a new crown will need to be made.
  • Allergic reaction: The metals used to make dental crowns are often a mixture of several metals. You could have an allergic reaction to the metal or porcelain that’s used in the dental crown. However, this is extremely rare.
  • Dark line on crowned tooth next to the gum line: You might see a dark line next to the gum line of your crowned tooth. This is normal — particularly if you have a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown. This dark line is simply the metal of the crown showing through.
  • Chipped crown: Crowns made of all porcelain can sometimes chip. Small chips can be repaired and the crown can remain in your mouth. The dental crown may need to be replaced if the chip is large or when there are many chips.
  • Loose crown: Sometimes, the cement that holds the crown on can wash out from under the crown. Not only does this allow the crown to become loose, it allows bacteria to leak in and cause decay to the tooth that remains. If your crown feels loose, contact your dentist’s office.

How long do dental crowns last?

Dental crowns would last between five and 15 years on average. This can depend on the amount of wear and tear the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene and personal oral habits. These oral habits can include things like:

  • Grinding or clenching (Bruxism).
  • Crunching ice.
  • Biting fingernails.
  • Using your teeth to rip selotape or open things.

Does a crowned tooth require any special care?

Not any more than normal. However, the underlying tooth still needs to be protected from decay or gum disease. Because of this, you should continue to follow good oral hygiene practices. These practices include brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day especially around the crown area where the gum meets your tooth. Also, avoid biting on hard surfaces with porcelain crowns (for example, chewing ice or popcorn seeds) to prevent cracking the porcelain.

How much do dental crowns cost?

The costs of dental crowns can vary depending which material is used. Porcelain crowns, for example, are typically more expensive than gold crowns, which are typically more expensive than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. The cost of crowns may be covered by your dental insurance. To be certain, check with your specific dental insurance provider. See our fees page for more information on cost.