If your tooth is damaged or cracked, it’s important to see a dentist who can treat the problem immediately. In these cases, dental crowns are often used to restore the tooth back to its original look and functionality.

What are dental crowns?

A dental crown is a fixed prosthetic restoration that replaces or restores the outer enamel of the tooth or the natural crown. They are affixed to the tooth with dental cement to fill in the decayed or cracked areas. Dental crowns can be made with a variety of different material, such as porcelain, metal alloy, composite resin, or ceramics. The purpose of the crown is to enhance the tooth’s aesthetic or make it stronger.

Do I need dental crowns?

Dental crowns can be used for restorative and cosmetic purposes. The dentist will usually recommend a dental crown to fix a damaged tooth that’s not working properly. Here are common reasons you may need a dental crown:

As stated before, however, many patients also get dental crowns to improve their appearance. If there are any grooves, discolorations, or misshapen parts of your tooth, a dental crown can cover those imperfections.

How do dental crowns work?

Dental crowns act like a replacement tooth. They cover the top of the tooth to protect it and keep the remains of the tooth together inside. Since they’re created with durable materials such as metal and ceramic, they can endure against chewing, brushing, and other oral functions like any other tooth.

Installing a dental crown can take a few appointments, but this is the general process:

  1. Preparation: The dental crown needs a stable structure to be attached to, so the dentist may need add an implant or bridge. If the tooth is damaged, the dentist will clean it and remove any decay.
  2. Getting imprints: To ensure the crown fits the tooth well, the dentist will make an impression of the tooth using putty or a digital scanner. This will be sent to a dental laboratory where the crown will be custom made to fit the patient.
  3. Attaching the crown: Finally, the crown will be adjusted to properly fit the tooth and bite. Then, the dentist will use a special cement to secure the crown to the tooth.

After the procedure, the dental crown should restore the shape, strength, functionality, and appearance of your damaged tooth. It’ll be like having a brand new tooth! Dental crowns also restore and maintain the structure of your mouth and bite, so it’s properly balanced.

How long do dental crowns last?

“Permanent” dental crowns can last long periods of time, but you will probably have to get them replaced. Crowns can last anywhere from 5 – 25 years, depending on the material and wear. If you think it’s time for a touchup or replacement, ask your dentist at your next checkup.

Is it painful to get a dental crown?

No, getting dental crowns should be relatively painless. During the operation, the dentist will give you a shot of local anesthetic into the gums just in case, but there’s usually little no pain since the procedure is just cementing the crown onto the tooth. You may feel some sensitivity or soreness around as you get used to the crowns later on but nothing extreme.