Tooth Crown Procedure – Damaged and Fractured Teeth
When we at Lighthouse Dental Centre recommend tooth crowns to our patients, they often have a lot of questions about what they are and how the procedure works. Crowns are caps that are put over a damaged tooth that could be weak or fractured and they’re made from porcelain or metal.
Crowns can be placed on your molars or even your front teeth.
When placing crowns on easy-to-see teeth, we’ll specially design them so that you can smile with confidence. The goal, when placing crowns on front teeth, is to make sure that the crown isn’t noticeable. Sometimes we will do teeth whitening prior to placing crowns since we can’t change the color once it’s cemented in.
Patients have a lot of options when choosing crowns, including:
We may recommend certain materials over others depending on the location where the crown is placed.
Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials, and it’s not uncommon for multiple materials to be used at once for a crown. The materials available include:
- Porcelain fused to metal
- Metal (ie: Gold)
- Composite resin
Material combinations are common to add special properties to the crown. Porcelain and metal may be mixed to offer the easy color choice of porcelain with the strength of metal.
We’ll select the best material options for your crown based on the following factors:
- Location of the tooth
- Function of the tooth
- Natural tooth remaining
- Gum tissue position
- Opposing dental bridge, crown or empty space
If you have a personal preference, you can also mention this during your visit. We'll always consider your preference and make any professional recommendations that we may have.
Types of Dental Crowns
We have flexibility when recommending crowns to our patients because every person’s oral health and teeth are different. On top of choosing the material for your crown, there are also multiple types of crowns that we can choose from depending on the state of your teeth and exisiting fillings, including:
Want fast service? It is possible to create and place a crown in a single appointment. Using computer-aided design and manufacturing, it’s possible to design and create a crown in the office and then place the crown the same day.
A temp crown is designed for short-term use. We'll place the crown over the tooth just like we would with a permanent crown, but we’ll use adhesive that is not as strong. We often put temporary crowns on while we’re making your permanent crown.
When we see you for your next appointment, we’ll remove your temporary crown and replace it with the permanent crown.
Onlay or 3/4 Crowns
When we examine your teeth, we may find that there’s enough existing tooth that a 3/4 or onlay crown is a better option. These crowns only cover a portion of the tooth like a veneer.
How We Determine If You Need a Crown
When we conduct a dental exam, we’ll be looking at the state of your teeth and discuss all treatment that may be required. If there’s a large cavity, the hole may be too big for a filling. And in this case, we may recommend a crown. We may also recommend a crown if your teeth are:
If you need a major dental procedure performed, such as a root canal, a crown may be necessary to add protection to the tooth. There are also times when a patient is missing a tooth from an extraction and that might affect our decision for a crown. There are other times when teeth are just in the wrong position and we may want to do Invisalign prior to crown. Patients sometimes come in with Anxiety and for those patients we offer sedation. We’ll discuss all of this during your visit.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
Cost is always a concern for patients who are having a new crown created. In general, the cost of a crown is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500. The price will depend on the size of the crown and the materials used to make the crown.
If you prefer a gold crown, this is often the most expensive option and not usually the best option for Cosmetic Dentistry. Prices for gold crowns will fluctuate based on the current cost of gold.
Oftentimes, we’ll be able to create a porcelain crown for cheaper than a metal or gold crown.
Once we factor in the cost of the materials, design and creation of the crown, we’ll then have to add other factors into the mix, such as:
- What work needs to be done to the tooth? We may need to do extensive work on the tooth before placing the crown on it, and if this is the case, the cost of the crown will be higher.
- Do you need an implant put in place first? If you need a dental implant before the crown, the cost is higher.
If you have dental insurance, the price of the procedure may not matter to you. Some forms of dental insurance will cover the entire cost of the dental crown, but we recommend calling the insurer for full details on what coverage you have.
We’re here to help when you need a dental crown. We'll discuss your budget and try to find ways to keep the costs within your budget. Sometimes, we’re able to lower costs by choosing a different material to make the crown, but there are times when the state of the tooth demands the strongest crown material possible.
Understanding the Dental Crown Procedure
A multi-day procedure for your dental crown.
What Happens During a Multi-Day Crown Procedure?
If we need to extend the crown procedure to a multi-day process, it should only be a two day process. We'll also create a temporary crown so that you can smile with confidence when possible.
The procedure will include:
- Examining and preparing the tooth
- X-ray of the tooth (if necessary)
- Taking a mold of the mouth or tooth
- The outer layer of the tooth will be filed down or removed
- Impressions will be taken
- Impressions are sent to the lab to make the crown
When the impressions are sent to the lab, the creation can take 2 to 3 weeks to come in. Once they do come in, the second visit will include placing the permanent crown.
What Happens During a Same-Day Crown Procedure?
Same-day crowns take much less time and don’t require a temporary crown to be placed on the tooth. This single visit procedure will include the following:
- Digital pictures of the mouth will be taken
- Scans will be made from the imaging
- Crown is designed in the office
- The crown will be made (it’s takes an hour or two)
- Crown is cemented
In total, the procedure will last up to four hours.
Caring for Your Dental Crowns
Even though you have a crown, you’ll still need to care for it as you would your normal teeth to avoid any dental emergencies. You'll need to carefully brush the crown, and you’ll need to follow dental hygiene best practices.
Additional tips are:
- Floss your teeth at least once daily
- Brush at least twice daily
- Avoid chewing on hard foods
- Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth
- Come in for regular check ups and cleanings
Porcelain crowns are susceptible to cracks, so it’s important to avoid chewing on ice or other hard substances that can crack the crown.
Since temporary dental crowns do not use a strong adhesive, it’s important to be extra cautious when brushing them. The adhesive can loosen causing the crown to come out. If the crown does fall out, breaks or cracks, we can reglue the crown or put another temporary crown in place while your permanent one is being made.
Common Crown Complications
Crowns are a great option for protecting your teeth, but they’re not without complications. After we place your crown, the following can occur:
- Sensitivity. We tell patients that it’s common for the tooth with the crown to be sensitive to hot or cold. The only time that sensitivity is a concern is if you feel pain biting down. In this case, we may be able to change your crown’s positioning.
- Chipping. Chewing hard foods can chip your crown. Porcelain crowns are the most susceptible to chipping, and small chips can often be corrected.
- Loosen or fall out. If a crown loosens or comes out, we can put additional cement on it to fix the issue.
- Gum disease. If the area where the crown is placed is sore or irritated, this can be a sign of gum disease or gingivitis. Speak to your hygienist and dentist about your pain or irritation so that a thorough examination can be performed.
There are times when patients are allergic to the metals in the crown, but this is very rare.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
When taken care of properly, dental crowns can last for years without an issue. Gold and porcelain-infused crowns last longer than other material types. All-resin crowns are known to wear down the fastest.
Depending on the material used to make the crown and general care, most crowns will last 10-15 years.
If you brush two to three times per day and go to cleanings every six months, you may extend the lifespan of your crown even further. Some patients have had their crowns for decades before they needed replacement.
As your dentist, we’ll discuss your dental crown options with you and work with you to find the best crown for your needs. We may also recommend an alternative to crowns that can work just as well or better.
Call us today to book an appointment.