What are dental crowns?

Also known as “caps,” dental crowns are a type of tooth restoration. If your tooth is too damaged for a simple filling, but has enough remaining healthy structure that it does not need to be pulled, a dental crown is generally the best option.

The dentist will repair the damage to your tooth, including a root canal if needed. Then your tooth is carefully prepared to accept the crown. Impressions are taken and a temporary crown is placed while you wait for your final crown to come back from the lab.

Dental crowns play an important role in modern dentistry. A crown is a cap that covers the entire visible portion of a tooth. Here are a few reasons why you might receive a dental crown:

  1. Support and protect a large filling
  2. Protect a weakened, cracked, or worn down tooth
  3. Cover a dental implant
  4. Secure a dental bridge
  5. Protect at-risk teeth in children
  6. Be part of a full mouth reconstruction for TMJ treatment
  1. To protect a tooth that is weak or is cracked
  2. To restore a tooth that is broken or worn down
  3. To hold a dental bridge securely
  4. To cover a dental implant
  5. Used as part of cosmetic dentistry procedures or full mouth rejuvenation
  6. To cover and add support to a tooth with a large filling
  7. In children, to protect teeth for a variety of health and hygiene reasons

As the name suggests, a dental bridge spans a gap where one or more teeth are missing, providing replacement teeth called pontics. There are four types of dental bridges available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Your dentist will help you choose the right dental bridge to meet your needs.

  • Traditional bridge: Attached at each end to a natural tooth via a crown, traditional bridges remain the most popular style, but are starting to fall out favor due the amount of healthy tooth structure that must be removed to fit the crowns. Traditional bridges are often made of dental porcelain over a metal framework, but can also be crafted entirely from porcelain.
  • Cantilever bridge: A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but is attached only at one end. Today, dental implants are more often used to provide additional support, so cantilever bridges are no longer common. However, they can be useful in some specific circumstances.
  • Maryland bridge: Less expensive but less aesthetic than a traditional bridge, a Maryland bridge is bonded to the backs of the adjacent teeth rather than supported by crowns. A major advantage of a Maryland bridge is that the healthy tooth structure is not destroyed. An Encore bridge is an all-ceramic Maryland bridge that creates a more aesthetic look.
  • Implant-supported bridge: Implant-supported bridges are considered the gold standard in modern bridgework. The adjacent healthy teeth are left undisturbed, as the bridge is anchored by dental implants at each end. This is the most aesthetic alternative, but also the most expensive.

Usually, two visits are required. The first visit will focus on examination of the tooth by Chad Schnabel, DMD. The tooth will also be prepared for the dental crown or permanent crown. On the second visit, the crown or cap will be placed. Any questions you have about the procedure will be answered in the first visit.

First visit: tooth examination and tooth preparation

Dr. Schnabel will make a visual inspection of your mouth and the tooth to be capped. X-rays may be taken to verify the condition of the roots of the tooth and the stability of the surrounding bone. In some cases, existing tooth decay may require additional procedures before the dental crown can be installed. A root canal treatment may be necessary.

Once the tooth is approved for a crown, the preparation of the tooth can proceed. Your tooth and surrounding gum will be anesthetized or numbed. The tooth receiving the crown will be filed on top and on the sides to make room for the dental crown. If you have areas of the tooth that are missing, composite bonding may be used to build up those areas of the tooth.

Please let us know if you experience any dental anxiety and we will be happy to discuss the variety of options related to sedation dentistry.

A paste or putty is used to make an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth. We want to insure your new crown will not affect your bite. These impressions are sent to a dental lab where the actual crown will be created. This process could take a few weeks.

Second visit: Installing the dental crown

When you arrive for your second visit, Dr. Schnabel will remove the temporary crown that may have been installed. The permanent crown will be checked for size, shape, and color. Again, a local anesthetic will be used and the crown will be cemented on top of the tooth.

On average, dental crowns can last between five and 15 years. Oral hygiene plays a part in how long they last. Take care of your dental crown and it will last much longer. A crowned tooth is still susceptible to decay or gum disease. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is still recommended. Take special care of the area along the gum line.

Dental crown procedures can vary depending on your particular situation. Dental Crowns and insurance coverage are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Schnabel can discuss your current insurance and guide you through your options.

Schedule the First Step Toward Your Healthiest Smile

We are excited to meet you and discuss your dental needs.  Call our office today at (912) 354-1366 or use the contact form here and we’ll get in touch with you to schedule an appointment.