Dental Emergencies

What Are Dental Crowns?

The role of a dental crown is to act like a cap for a badly damaged or decayed tooth. Crowns protect tooth structure and restore it to its original size, shape and colour.

Precision-made from porcelain (ceramic), gold or metal alloys, dental crowns completely cover the damaged or decayed tooth. Dental crowns are most often used when the damaged and/or decayed tooth can’t be restored with fillings or other restorations.

Unlike dentures, which are removable, dental crowns are bonded over natural teeth with dental cement.

No matter what material is used, dental crowns are a professional solution for fixing teeth and restoring them to their original appearance.

How do dental crowns work?

Besides strengthening the natural tooth’s structure, dental crowns are used to improve its appearance, shape and alignment. Your dentist may recommend a dental crown to protect a weak tooth, fix a broken one or cover a discoloured tooth.

Dental crowns are also used to replace large fractured filling, cover dental implants and teeth that have undergone root canal therapy, and attach dental bridges.

What are the main reasons for having dental crowns?

  • Decayed teeth
  • Damaged teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Cosmetic enhancement (colour, shape, size and/or alignment)
  • Dental bridge procedures

What are the benefits of having dental crowns?

Dental crowns prevent further deterioration of the teeth, improving functions such as speaking, eating and smiling, and improve facial structure. They can also help alleviate the pain associated with having badly damaged and/or decayed teeth.

It can take as few as two dental visits to have dental crowns placed.

What are different types of dental crowns made of, and why?

There are many materials used to make dental crowns, including porcelain, gold and metal. The latter is very durable and ideal for providing maximum support, especially at the back of the mouth. Porcelain (ceramic) dental crowns are more natural looking and can be shaped and coloured to match your natural teeth, making them especially useful for the front teeth.

CEREC crowns are created using digital 3-D technology. They fabricate precise shapes and sizes for dental restorations, including crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays. CEREC crowns are completed and inserted in a single visit.

What does getting dental crowns involve?

The dental crown procedure usually takes two visits with your dentist: the first to take impressions of your teeth and the second to place the crowns.

Once the dentist has a mold of your teeth, a temporary crown will be made for use until your real crown is fabricated in a dental laboratory.

To place the temporary crown, your dentist will anesthetize the area before removing any tooth decay.

During your second visit, the temporary crown is removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned and the real crown is placed over your natural tooth and bonded with dental cement.

How long do dental crowns last?

If dental crowns are cared for properly, they can last an average of 10 years.

Proper care includes:

  • Following an oral hygiene routine that includes daily flossing, brushing and mouthwash use
  • Having regular checkups with your dentist for cleanings and exams
  • Avoiding chewing on hard candies, foods and ice