A dental crown is a "cap" that is placed over a tooth in order to enhance its appearance, to strengthen it, or to restore its size and shape. The process normally requires two visits to a dental office. During the first visit, an impression is made of the tooth and a temporary crown may be installed. The impression that is made is sent to a dental laboratory so that a permanent crown can be created. The permanent crown is installed during a second visit to the dental office.
Why is a Dental Crown Needed?
- Some people need a crown to restore a tooth that has broken or been worn down. Dental crowns can help protect a damaged tooth from decay. They can also be used to cover discolored teeth or teeth that are misshaped. Some may use dental crowns to help hold a dental bridge in its place or to cover a dental implant.
What are the Different Types of Dental Crowns?
- According to the Cosmetic Dentistry Guide, dental crowns can be created from all-ceramic, all-metal, all-resin, or porcelain-fused-to-metal.
All-ceramic crowns are more suitable for individuals who may be allergic to metal. This type of crown also tends to make the best natural color match for natural teeth. Ceramic crowns are a little weaker than the porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, but they are a good choice to use for one's front teeth.
The metal crowns include gold, chromium, or nickel alloys. This type of crown has the greatest durability. They rarely break or chip. Metal crowns are a good selection to use for the molar teeth.
The all-resin crowns are the most inexpensive dental crowns of the four. They do, however, have a tendency to wear down after a while and they are prone to more breakages.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can be color-matched to a the natural teeth. These crowns look the most like ordinary teeth, but they can break off or chip. The porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be of good use for both the front teeth and the back teeth.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
- Dental crowns have a cost range of $400 to $900 or more per crown, as of 2009, according to the Cosmic Dentistry Guide, not including the visits to the dental office, which normally cost between $65 to $105 per visit. X-rays may also be done and normally cost between $20 and $130. If you have dental insurance, a portion of the cost may be covered. Some dental colleges offer the procedure at a reduced rate.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
- Dental crowns can last between about five to 15 years, according to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry. The longevity of the dental crown depends on the amount of wear and tear and your habits pertaining to the mouth. When you have a dental crown, you should avoid habits such as chewing ice, biting your fingernails, clenching or grinding your teeth, or using your teeth to open packages. Even with a dental crown, continue the habit of brushing your teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once daily.
What Problems Could Occur with a Dental Crown?
- After you get a new dental crown, the tooth may be sensitive to cold and heat once the anesthesia wears off. If pain is felt when biting down, it may be an indication that the crown is too high on the tooth, according to the Cosmic Dental Guide. This problem can be easily fixed by a dentist. Small chips can be repaired. For larger ones, the crown may have to be replaced.
Sometimes, the cement will wash away from under the crown causing it to be loose. If this happens, contact a dentist because the tooth may start to decay if it's not reseated. In rare cases, an individual may develop an allergic reaction from the metals that are used to make a crown.