- What is a Dental Crown?
- Dental Crown Types
- Dental Crown vs. Dental Bridge
- Dental Crown Procedure
- Dental Crown Care
- Dental Crown Lifespan
- Dental Crown Cost
- Dental Crown Alternatives
- Additional FAQs
What is a Dental Crown?
When a tooth becomes weakened by decay or injury; receives endodontic therapy (root canal); or requires comprehensive aesthetic improvement—a dental crown can be an effective solution. Designed to “cap” the affected tooth, a crown not only protects the vulnerable tooth body, it restores strength, structure, function, and a natural appearance. In addition, a specialized type of dental crowns—called dental implant crowns—can be firmly attached to dental implants to provide long-lasting, customized replacements for missing teeth.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Crowns?
Custom dental crowns are made of many different materials, using a variety of methods. At Schweitzer & Schweitzer, PC, our prosthodontists provide the full range of dental crown options—from traditional to state-of-the-art—to restore teeth according to each patient’s unique dental needs and cosmetic goals. In our on-site lab, our dental crowns are fabricated by our master ceramists according to our prosthodontists’ detailed instructions. Types of dental crowns we provide include:
- All-ceramic crowns (porcelain)
- Porcelain fused to metal
- Gold alloys
- Metal Alloys
- Composite resin
Our prosthodontists understand the importance of offering the full spectrum of dental crown options, as each patient’s dental requirements, attributes, priorities, aesthetic standards, budget, and longevity/durability expectations are unique.
Every restoration is custom-designed, fabricated, and fitted to deliver the patient’s most desired benefits.
During the consultation phase of treatment, your prosthodontist will review your oral health and medical history, perform an extensive diagnostic exam, and discuss the types of dental crowns that may be best suited for resolving your dental concerns. For example, while dental crowns made of aesthetically pleasing all-ceramic material may be recommended for visible teeth near the front of the mouth, porcelain fused to metal crowns might be suggested for less noticeable back molars to provide added durability and aesthetics. Your prosthodontist can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each option so that you can make the most informed choice about your care. It may also be important to find out which types of crowns your dental insurance will cover to keep you within budget.
What Is the Difference Between a Dental Crown and a Dental Bridge?
While a dental crown is a restoration designed to restore the strength and form of a single damaged tooth, a dental bridge consists of two crowns fused with a replacement tooth to fill a gap left by a missing tooth. Bridges can also be designed to replace several missing adjacent teeth, if needed. In order to place a fixed dental bridge, the two teeth on either side of the gap must be prepared for the crowns. The bridge is then fitted onto and bonded to the prepared teeth. A dental bridge can also be held in place with dental implants (called an implant-supported bridge) for patients who desire additional benefits such as longer-lasting results, optimal aesthetics, simplified dental hygiene, enhanced jawbone health, and superior dental function.
What Does the Dental Crown Procedure Involve?
The dental crown procedure usually begins with local anesthesia injections to numb the treatment area and help prevent discomfort. Once the area is adequately desensitized, the tooth is then prepared by removing damage and decay until only healthy tooth material remains. If the inner pulp of the tooth is infected, a root canal will be necessary.
An impression or digital scan is then taken of the prepared tooth body and the surrounding teeth, which your prosthodontist uses to design your new crown. During the time your crown is being fabricated in our on-site dental lab (which can take anywhere from a day to two weeks depending on the type of crown), you will be fitted with a temporary crown to keep your tooth protected. In the event you are a candidate for one-visit crowns, your prosthodontist can use our state-of-the-art 3Shape® machine to create a same-day crown.
When the final crown is ready, your prosthodontist will check that the crown fits properly and looks as it should. If any adjustments are needed, he can often quickly meet with the on-site lab technician and have minor changes made within minutes. When the optimal fit, bite, and appearance have been achieved, the crown can be cemented in place to complete the procedure.
How Do I Care for My Dental Crown?
Dental crowns require the same daily hygiene as your natural teeth. Our prosthodontists recommend twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as professional cleanings and exams twice per year. If you grind and clench your teeth at night, a custom night guard is advised to protect your crowns and any other dental work from destructive bite forces. Should your crown become loose or damaged, it is important to contact our office right away for treatment, as the tooth may become vulnerable to decay and bacteria, which can cause more serious and costly problems to develop.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
The length of time your dental crown will last largely depends on the material and process that was used to craft it. With proper care, some types of crowns can last a lifetime, while others may need to be replaced within ten years. Patients benefit from our on-site dental lab which offers a full range of restoration options, from state-of-the-art ceramic materials like e.max® and zirconia to more traditional porcelain fused to metal.
Prior to treatment, your prosthodontist will discuss restoration longevity as it pertains to material types, fabrication processes, and other considerations of your case so that you are able to make the best choice for your needs. The thorough, precise nature of our prosthodontists’ work combined with the expertise of our ceramists typically translates into longer lasting restorations than you might find from a less skilled or experienced dentist. Even with the best materials, if a crown does not fit properly, is exposed to harmful bite forces, or changes the bite, the crown can become damaged/broken, and you may experience other undesirable dental consequences.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
The overall price for a dental crown depends on the type of treatment and preparation required, in addition to specific details of the restoration. Factors that may influence the cost of a crown include:
- Type of material used
- Technique employed to fabricate the crown
- Location of the affected tooth
- Complexity of the tooth preparation process
- Additional treatment required to improve oral health (i.e. a root canal or periodontal care)
These variables can make the cost of custom crowns change significantly from patient to patient. If you are interested in learning how much your specific case would cost, we suggest that you schedule a personal consultation with one of our prosthodontists.
Our board-certified, fellowship-trained prosthodontists are leaders and educators in the field, offering top-of-the-line care to those in need of reconstructive, restorative, aesthetic, and implant dentistry. Their expertise and years of extensive training make Schweitzer & Schweitzer, PC a specialty practice, capable and equipped to handle even the most complex cases. While the specialty work we do may cost more when compared to an average general or cosmetic dentist, we believe our pricing is fair and representative of the quality of our work. Furthermore, our facility contains everything we need on-site to deliver outstanding care at each phase of treatment.
Does Insurance Cover Dental Crowns?
Dental insurance may cover treatment with dental crowns; however, benefits can vary based on treatment plan details. We accept certain dental insurance plans, and our friendly office team can review your coverage, calculate your out-of-pocket costs, and explain different ways to pay for treatment. Qualified patients may choose to arrange a payment plan directly with our practice or look into dental financing available through a third-party lender called CareCredit®. Our goal is to make the quality dental care you deserve more convenient, accessible, and affordable.
What Alternatives to Dental Crowns are Available?
In some cases, dental crowns may not be the most conservative or appropriate treatment, and our prosthodontists may recommend alternative options that are more suitable for your needs. Some potential alternatives to crowns include:
- Inlays & Onlays: For teeth that have too much decay for a conventional filling but do not require a crown, a custom inlay or onlay may adequately protect and restore the tooth. These can be crafted from all-ceramic material in our on-site lab or milled in our 3Shape® machine.
- Porcelain Veneers: When patients with otherwise healthy teeth are interested in improving the size, shape, shade, and/or alignment of their teeth, they are often better candidates for porcelain veneers than crowns. These thin shells of ceramic material require minimal tooth preparation and cover only the front side of each tooth to perfect smile aesthetics.
Additional Dental Crown FAQs
What type of dental crown is right for me?
Following a comprehensive dental evaluation, our prosthodontists can determine the type of dental crown that is right for your needs and goals. Our practice offers the full spectrum of dental crown options so that you are assured to receive a dental crown that aligns with your dental needs, budget, and priorities. It is also important for our prosthodontists to consider the type of tooth, location of the tooth, and degree of dental damage before determining which kind of crown is most appropriate.
What happens if my crown becomes damaged?
If your dental crown becomes damaged, we encourage you to contact our office immediately for repair, rebonding, or replacement of your crown. In the best case, a damaged crown only affects the aesthetics of the tooth, but many times a damaged crown can make the natural tooth body vulnerable to decay and infection. You can expect to receive a prompt appointment when you call out practice with urgent dental needs.
Will my dental crown look natural?
If your goal is to achieve a natural-looking crown that blends beautifully with the surrounding teeth, our prosthodontists can recommend the best materials and fabrication techniques to achieve your goals. Aesthetics are most important for teeth that are visible when you smile, and in these cases we may suggest all-ceramic crowns that are shade-matched and hand-crafted to provide optimal translucence and luster. No matter what type of crown you receive, a natural-looking result is important, and our prosthodontists and in-house ceramists strive to provide each patient with a healthy, beautiful smile.
Contact Our Practice
Contact Schweitzer & Schweitzer, PC to learn more about dental crowns or schedule a personal consultation with one of our prosthodontists.