Dental crowns are a solution that your dentist would recommend if you have a cracked, broken, worn, or decayed tooth or one that would require a very large filling.
There are many benefits to having a dental crown. Most importantly, a crown extends the life of a tooth by protecting it and restoring its ability to function correctly. You’ll be able to chew on the tooth again, and because a crown is customized for your smile, no one will notice that you’ve had any work done.
How a Dental Crown Protects Your Tooth
Dental crowns are also called caps or tooth caps because they fit snugly around a tooth and protect it like a little helmet. A crown covers an entire tooth and encases it in a durable material like porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or gold.
When the final crown is placed securely on the tooth, it essentially becomes a “new” tooth. Now the tooth you’ve avoided chewing on is usable again because the restoration absorbs chewing force while also protecting the tooth's structure.
A Dental Crown Can Save a Tooth from Extraction
Sometimes a tooth is damaged beyond repair, and the only option is to remove it through a tooth extraction. Often, however, a dental crown can give a badly decayed or diseased tooth a second chance.
Saving as much natural tooth structure as possible is a priority for dentists because tooth roots do more than hold your tooth in place; they also keep your jawbone strong and healthy. Removing a tooth can lead to bone loss, shifting teeth, a change in your facial appearance, and even further tooth loss in some cases.
By preserving a damaged tooth with a dental crown, you can keep your tooth, enjoy more comfortable function, and keep your beautiful smile intact.
Dental Crowns Are Available in Different Materials
Each of your teeth has a unique function—shearing, cutting, and chewing—and the material used for your crown often depends on which tooth is involved. For example, if it’s a front tooth that shows when you smile, your dentist might recommend all-porcelain for aesthetics.
All-Porcelain Dental Crowns
The porcelain used for dental crowns in Fredericksburg, VA is not fragile and delicate like the porcelain material used for fine china. In fact, dental-grade porcelain is as strong, if not stronger, than natural tooth enamel and stands up well to the daily wear and tear to which we subject our teeth.
Aesthetically speaking, dental porcelain is prized for its translucent sheen and appearance that’s very similar to natural tooth enamel. Therefore, when planning the design of your crown, your dentist will use a shade guide to match its color to the same shade of white as your teeth.
This makes all-porcelain crowns perfect for the teeth that show when you smile. You’ll have a restored tooth that’s durable, can handle chewing forces, and enhances your appearance.
If the tooth is a molar, function wins out over aesthetics because these teeth withstand significant chewing force. In this case, your dentist might recommend a porcelain-fused-to-metal or PFM crown. The inner layer of stainless steel provides strength and durability, while the outer porcelain surface allows the crown to blend in with your smile.
Gold Dental Crowns
Of all the materials for dental crowns, gold is by far the strongest. Gold is a “high noble metal,” which means that it interacts well with human tissue, so it’s an excellent choice when strength and longevity of a crown are a priority. The one drawback to gold crowns is that they’re noticeable, which is why dentists use them primarily on teeth like molars that are outside the “smile zone.”
The Dental Crown Procedure at Blue Bird Dentistry
Getting a new dental crown at Blue Bird Dentistry is a straightforward process that your dentist can typically complete in just two appointments.
During the first, your Fredericksburg dentist will assess your dental situation and discuss with you whether a dental crown is the right solution.
If you agree that it is, the first appointment goes as follows:
- Numb your mouth, so you don’t feel anything
- Trim the tooth down so the crown will fit properly
- Take impressions of the tooth
- Create a temporary crown to protect your tooth
There’s usually a 2-3 week wait while skilled technicians meticulously fabricate your custom dental crown to our specifications. When your new restoration is ready, you’ll return to your dentist’s office for the following steps:
- Remove your temporary crown
- Check your new crown for fit
- Adjust the crown for your dental bite
- Polish the crown and cement it in place
That’s all there is to it! All that’s left for you to do is go out and smile confidently!
How to Care for Your Dental Crown
Now that your beautiful new crown is in place, the most important thing to remember is that a crown tooth is still a tooth. While the outer shell of the crown can’t get a cavity, there’s still a tooth beneath it that’s susceptible to decay, and you still have to protect against gum disease.
On the day you get your new crown, ask your dentist or hygienist for tips for brushing and flossing around it. If you have a single crown, you can simply brush and floss as usual; if your crown is part of bridgework, your hygienist may recommend a special floss that makes it easier to keep clean.
How Long Will a Dental Crown Last?
The lifespan of dental crowns varies widely and is dependent on how well you care for it and your tooth. On average, dental crowns last about ten years, but with proper care, some dental crowns have been known to last as long as 20 years.
The Cost of Dental Crowns
The cost of a dental crown depends on which material is used, the location of the tooth, and the training and expertise of the dentist placing it. While the upfront cost of crowns seems high, remember that the better you care for it, the longer it will last and the less your long-term cost will be.
In the US, dental crowns generally range from $1,000 to $3,500. This is a significant investment, so be sure to ask the dentist to see photos of the treatment they’ve provided so you can visualize the final outcome.
Contact Our Dentist Office in Fredericksburg to Get Started!
If you need a dentist near Fredericksburg, VA to help fix a broken, worn, or decayed tooth, the team at Blue Bird Dentistry would love to hear from you. Please call us at (540) 373-1641, and we will be happy to help you schedule an appointment.