What Are Dental Crowns?

What are dental crowns? Dental crowns are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike dentures which are removable, need to be cleaned daily and taken out, crowns are cemented onto implants or existing teeth; they can only be removed by a dentist. They are used to cover a damaged or decayed tooth. Aside from strengthening a tooth, a crown is used to improve its alignment, shape, and appearance. It can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a structure for function and tooth-like shape.
What are dental crowns made of? There are a variety of materials available for dental crowns.

  • Porcelain fused to metal – Some call it a hybrid between their all-ceramic and all-metal counterparts. When they are constructed, porcelain is fused to an underlying substructure in a high-heat furnace.
  • Porcelain – These are very natural looking but they are not as sturdy as bonded crowns.
  • Metals – Withstands biting and chewing forces. These rarely chip or break, thus lasting the longest in terms of wear and tear. The main drawback, though, is its metallic color. These are best used for out-of-site molars.
  • Stainless steel – Used on permanent teeth as a temporary measure. It protects the filling or tooth while the permanent crown is made from another material. These are generally used for children’s teeth since they don’t require multiple dental visits.
  • Zirconia – Digitally constructed in a dental lab or an office that has software and hardware to produce them. If produced in an office, there would be no need for a temporary crown to be installed since this can be done in one visit; these crowns do not need any impression.
  • All resin – Compared to other crown types, these are the least expensive but they wear down over time and are prone to fractures.

What are dental crowns lifespan? This would depend on the level of dental care you are getting. For most people, they say that a crown can last for 7 to 10 years. However, a crown that is well-cared for may last longer. This would also depend on what type of crown you have. Unlike dentures, crowns are extremely durable and hard wearing. They are also not susceptible to decay.
Sometimes the cement can wash out from under the crown and they can fall out or come loose. It is also vital to practice good oral hygiene and keep the crowns as clean as the natural teeth to ensure longevity. To extend its lifespan, avoid grinding your teeth, eating hard foods, and opening packaging with them.
What are dental crowns prices? Generally, the cost of dental crowns is covered by dental insurance especially if they are used for restorative purposes. But if you use any kind of cosmetic dentistry for appearance purposes, the cost will have to come out of your own pocket. One dental crown can cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 – perhaps even more – depending on the materials used and the restorative requirements. The dentist’s location will also matter as well as his experience and expertise.

Types Of Dental Crowns

A dental crown is recommended by dental specialists when your tooth is crumbling apart. It will repair a lifeless tooth and protect it from further damage. It will also bring back the durability of your tooth as the crown will preserve the correct alignment of the jaw. There are many types of dental crowns, including the following:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel crowns are just for temporary approach while waiting for the permanent crown to be finished. This is used especially by older children who already have permanent teeth but couldn’t resist sweets which may further decay an already damaged tooth.

Porcelain Crowns

If you have a tooth that is cracked, discolored, lost its functionality, or needs to be protected for whatever reason, you need porcelain crowns to take care of the problem and get that tooth back on track. Crowns, often called caps, are used by dentists for both cosmetic dentistry and general practice to resolve their patients’ problems.
The caps come in a number of materials and applications are quite versatile. Compared to ceramic or gold crowns, though, porcelain has been proven to have several advantages over them. Below, you can find three benefits porcelain caps can give you.

Natural Feel

If you tried having dentures or placed something in or on one of your teeth, you would understand how unnatural it can feel – sometimes it takes some getting used to. The thing with having dentures, though, is that it can be impossible for many to get accustomed to them because of the discomfort they give. Aside from dentures feeling like foreign objects in the mouth, users have to be removed and cleaned regularly to avoid disease, infections, and bad breath.
They can also move around the mouth and cause difficulty in chewing as well as pain. With porcelain crowns, people cannot tell between those and your natural teeth and it is designed to match the contours of your mouth and other teeth. Porcelain caps are comfortable and most patients say they don’t feel like they’re wearing a crown.

Restore Functionality

Aside from needing a crown for cosmetic reasons, patients need to have one because the damage to their tooth has made it impossible to eat or in worse cases, talk. This can happen when a tooth is worn through time or has cracked due to an injury. Porcelain caps give the patient a tooth’s functionality back. It takes away the pain and sensitivity that comes along with an unprotected and damaged tooth. While there are other methods to handle protection, cosmetic modeling, and tooth sensitivity, only a few can achieve all three with a noteworthy degree of success.

Look Natural

Most people want to get crowns that blend well with their natural teeth. Gold crowns would obviously draw attention to the tooth and people would know you had a dental procedure done. Porcelain crowns are created and devised to match your natural enamel as closely as possible. No other material gives you that benefit as well as porcelain caps do.

How much do porcelain crowns cost?

It is important to get into the details as to the patient’s condition as well as the experience of the dentist to determine exactly how much porcelain crowns cost. A regular porcelain crown can cost somewhere around $700 to $1400.
The price varies depending on the dentist’s expertise and his clinic’s location in the city, the rate of the lab used to cast the crown, facilities, amenities, insurance participation, and others. To obtain a cheaper price, some patients flock to countries outside the United States like Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Thailand, and Hungary for extensive restorations and cosmetic surgeries.

Zirconia Crowns

One of the most chosen materials for dental crowns is zirconium. Some of its advantages are:

  • No metal fuse
  • Can withstand wear and tear
  • Biocompatible
  • Extraordinarily tough
  • Modifiable size, shape and color
  • Less tooth removal
  • Translucent enough to be similar to natural teeth

The biggest advantage that zirconia crowns can give is its aesthetic effects. It is very important to have dental crowns that will look just like your natural teeth, especially since it will be placed where it is visible when you show that smile.
It is essential to know the capacity of zirconia crowns when it is modified according to the set of teeth it will be placed alongside with. Zirconium crowns will not just replace a tooth but it can also be shaped for it to look like the one it will be replacing. This is the reason why people who have zirconia crowns are confident to sport that perfect natural looking smile.
To ensure that the finished crowns are indestructible, zirconia manufacturers are designing and producing dental crowns that are custom milled from the solid block of the material and baked at very high temperatures. The material is biocompatible, which means it is safe to stay inside a person’s mouth for a long time. What’s great about zirconia crowns is not having the fear or worry of adverse reactions since the human body will not reject it. Many people have used it for decades and it has been proven a fact that it is well tolerated by the body.
Zirconia crowns do not corrode. It also has strong ceramic material that prevents black gum lines from appearing – like what you see around a porcelain fused metal crown. Unlike other crowns, you won’t be able to feel the too hot or cold sensations. The reason this happens is because of the lack of electrical conductivity with a zirconia crown.
Zirconium crowns are milled from a chunk of crystal, therefore, they are definitely five times stronger than their porcelain and metal fuse counterparts. Aside from its strength, zirconia crowns do not have the bulky appearance which porcelain is known for. Bridges and crowns made of zirconium are so strong they can be used anywhere in the mouth. It can withstand back teeth grinding and biting pressure of the front teeth.
Although the crown itself is virtually indestructible, the abrasion of the hard material against the other teeth cannot be noticed and this can cause decay. The decay can only be detected once the crown has fallen off.
Prices of zirconia crowns vary greatly and will depend on the country where you plan to have your procedure done. Experience of the dentist and dental technician as well as the size of the crown will also gauge the cost. But out of all types of dental crowns in the market, zirconium is the priciest since the natural look, durability, and biocompatibility comes with the price tag. In the United States, zirconium crowns can cost more or less around $1000. Some patients choose to travel abroad to get treatment since it is a lot cheaper in some countries.

Ceramic Crowns

If your tooth is breaking apart and after knowing all your options you choose to have a crown, the best value for your money would be to get a high tech ceramic crown. Ceramic crowns are known to be resistant to wear and tear of the teeth and have been proven to be heavy-duty and aesthetically appealing.
Patients who use this type of crown testify that they are highly convenient, they have a notable capability of withstanding the chewing forces. All ceramic crowns and bridges are metal free which means they are an outstanding choice for patients who get allergic reactions to metals. CAD/CAM technology is used to position the crowns on the tooth, ensuring a consummate fit.
All ceramic crowns can be customized. The shade of the crown can be accurately matched with the rest of your teeth and if you want, it can even be lightened. Discoloration and imperfections can be improved and adjusted by using ceramic substructures. Moreover, the crown’s porcelain material bonds better to a ceramic rather than a metal core ensuing a stronger bonded crown.
Another advantage to an all-ceramic crown is the possibility of creating a precise replica of a specific tooth. The crown can be cut while the patient waits, saving time and reducing the delay it takes for a replacement tooth such as dentures to be built up in a dental laboratory. All ceramic crowns do not need as much space as traditional metal substructure caps.
The definite advantage of this is the more that more of a patient’s natural tooth can be retained. There is also a lesser chance of damage being caused to the sensitive dentine in the natural tooth. For the patient, the sensitivity of the tooth once the crown is fitted is reduced, making ceramic crowns beneficial and also a healthier option.

How are ceramic crowns fitted?

The fitting of a ceramic crown is the same as with any other type of crown. The dentist will reshape the tooth after cleaning it as a form of preparation. The tooth is tapered to allow the ceramic crown to tightly fit over the top. Using dental putty, an impression of your teeth is then taken. The mold will be sent to a dental laboratory where it will be used to fabricate a new crown.
A temporary crown will be given to the patient during the fabrication of the new crown, which will take around 2 to 3 weeks. After the new crown is ready, the dentist will ask the patient to return to the clinic and fit the new crown. The dentist will rough up the surface of the affective tooth, etching acid on it to enable the crown to adhere to the tooth. After the patient is satisfied with the fit, the dentist will fix the crown firmly in place using dental cement. The dentist will advise patients to stay away from crunchy or hard food as well as grinding the teeth. For ceramic crowns to last, regular dental checkup is needed.

How much do ceramic crowns cost?

Prices for ceramic crowns vary. This will depend on the dentist’s location, his expertise, the number of crowns needed to be installed, insurance benefits, and others. It is best to go to the dentist and get a consultation so you can be given a quotation.

Front Teeth Crowns: an Art of Precision

When it comes to front teeth crowns, precision is key. Your most visible teeth simply must look natural and flawless when you have this type of crown installed. It takes the skilled hand of an experienced cosmetic dentist to do the job right.

Who Needs Front Teeth Crowns?

Crowns are a good option for patients for a number of reasons. Some are seeking a cosmetic solution, while others may need to have a cracked or chipped tooth repaired.
Crowns help repair damaged teeth by proving a permanent cover that will protect from breakage, sensitivity and pain. They also provide a cosmetic solution, as having a chipped, broken or discolored front tooth can be embarrassing.

What Are Crowns Made Of?

Front teeth crowns may be made from one of several materials. At Dental Studio 101, we primarily use ceramic crowns for front teeth. There are several reasons for this.
First of all, ceramic crowns are very durable and comfortable. We have had a very high success rate using ceramic crowns and believe they are the highest quality solution available.
Aesthetically, there is no better option. When we use ceramic front teeth crowns, we ensure the shape is natural and matches the coloration of your natural teeth.

Caring for Permanent and Temporary Crowns

Back in the day, dentures used to be the best option for people when their teeth started going bad. Nowadays, though, science has come up with more effective ways to get a tooth replaced. Dentists treat dental conditions like decay and breaking with a crown.
You will need at least two different dentist appointments for the crowns to be administered. The dentist will take measurements and create moldings during the first session then send the data he has collected to a dental lab which manufactures the permanent crown. Permanent crowns can take around two to three weeks to create, but the dentist will then apply temporary crowns. A temporary crown is most likely made of acrylic and they will use a temporary cement to make sure it stays in place.
Cerec Technology helps eliminate the necessity for impressions and temporary crowns. Cerec allows the dentist to install your crown in just one visit, though for various other reasons, there are still dentists that use temporary crowns on their patients.
Since patients can receive either both a permanent and a temporary crown, it is important to know how to care for both types which is pretty easy to do. Temporary crowns, however, are only worn for a few weeks, up until the permanent crown can be applied.
Avoid hard foods – Raw vegetables, peanut brittle, and the like can move the crown when you bite them.
Minimize usage of the tooth with the temporary crown – Every so often, crowns are placed on the teeth located at the back of the mouth. The location of the crown makes it hard to floss or clean. The solution for this is to chew on the opposite side of the mouth to keep the area clean.
Flossing correctly – Remove any food stuck between your teeth by using dental floss. Doing this process should be done slowly and gently with temporary crowns.
Avoid sticky foods – Chewy or sticky foods can attach themselves to the crown and might dislodge it. Eating caramel or chewing gum should be prevented.
Use mouthwash – Preferably use antibacterial mouthwash to treat the area surrounding the crown in your mouth.
Practice good oral habits – Nail biting is a no-no. So is eating ice, grinding your teeth, and using your teeth to open packages.
Brush your teeth appropriately – The underlying tooth is still prone to further decay and gum disease even though it already has a dental crown on it. Thus, flossing and brushing your teeth are essential. Floss at least once a day and brush twice a day. Your dentist will advise you on the areas you need to pay close attention to.
Crowns are and affordable and effective solution to get that perfect smile back after struggling with a damaged tooth. With proper maintenance, they can last up to 15 years. If you are planning on getting dental crowns, visit Dental Studio 101. We are located at 33739 N Scottsdale Rd Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85266 or call us at 480-488-4852 to set an appointment. Either way, we’d love to hear from you.

About The Author

Dr. Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle completed her Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Glendale, AZ. As a leader in the field of cosmetic dentistry and full-mouth rehabilitation, she is committed to providing exceptional dental care to the local community. She is also affiliated with prestigious organizations, including the American Dental Association. Her extensive involvement in these reputable institutions speaks to her commitment to advancing the field of dentistry.