What Are Dental Crowns Used For? And 6 Other FAQs About Crowns

Dental crowns FAQ

Your Dental-Crown Questions Answered

Dental crowns are one of the most commonly performed restorative treatments. Millions of Americans have received this dental restoration to treat a range of conditions, from dental trauma to tooth decay. Using this technique, a dentist can restore function to your tooth and improve your smile.

Here are some of the most frequent questions patients have about this restorative treatment.

What are dental crowns? 

Dental crowns are custom-made prosthetic devices that replicate your natural tooth. The restoration resembles a hollow tooth and completely covers a reshaped tooth or dental implant. 

The crown is bonded to the remaining tooth structure (or implant) using permanent dental cement. A patient may receive a dental crown to protect a tooth from additional damage. 

What are dental crowns used for?

The primary purpose of a crown is to restore the tooth’s shape, size, strength, and function. This permanent restoration works by:

  • Protecting a tooth weakened by decay 
  • Restoring a broken tooth 
  • Covering discolored or misshapen teeth 
  • Holding a dental bridge in place 
  • Strengthening a tooth after root canal treatment 
  • Closing spaces between teeth
  • Covering a dental implant

Dental crowns transform your smile and protect it from further damage.  

What materials are dental crowns made of?

Modern materials allow dental crowns to blend in beautifully with your natural teeth. Dental Care Associates of Buffalo uses e.max crowns that are lifelike and aesthetically pleasing. 

These crowns are made from glass and ceramic, but they are anything but fragile. E.max crowns have two layers of material, making them extremely durable. 

Other material options for these permanent restorations include the following: 

  • Metal, like gold and platinum  
  • Stainless steel 
  • Porcelain fused to metal
  • Resin

The most distinguishing feature of some of these materials is the color. Although not as common anymore, metal crowns are ideal for molars that aren’t easily seen. 

What is the process of getting a dental crown?

Getting a dental crown often requires two appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist prepares the tooth by removing any decay and reshaping the remaining tooth structure. Sometimes your dentist must build up the core of the tooth to provide more support. 

Once the tooth is prepared, your dental team takes impressions using either a digital scanner or a puttylike material. They then send the impression to a lab that will fabricate the final crown. 

Your tooth gets covered with a temporary crown to protect the tooth structure. Approximately two weeks later, you’ll return to the office, where your dentist will double-check the color and fit of the crown. They may need to make adjustments, but once the crown fits as it should, your dentist will finally permanently cement the crown onto the tooth.

How long does a dental crown last?

Because the materials used to make the crown are highly durable and mimic the strength of your tooth’s enamel, the average dental crown lasts around 15 years. However, with proper care and maintenance, a crown can last 20 years or more. 

The lifespan of a crown varies based on several factors, such as your oral hygiene, clenching and grinding habits, and the frequency of your dental checkups. 

Can a crowned tooth get a cavity?

Although a dental crown cannot get a cavity, the supporting tooth underneath is still susceptible to decay. This makes it crucial for you to care for your crown just as you would care for your natural teeth. 

How do I care for my new crown? 

With proper care, your dental crown should last for many years. To protect your crown and ensure your investment remains intact, you’ll want to follow these steps:

Brush and floss daily.

Your new crown may be unable to decay, but your natural tooth that supports the crown still needs proper oral care. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily eliminates the buildup of sticky plaque and will keep the crown looking its best. 

Avoid hard foods and foreign objects. 

Even though crown materials are durable, damage can still occur. Chewing on hard items like ice can chip or break your crown. This could make it necessary to replace the crown much sooner than expected. 

Similarly, any object that isn’t food can chip a crown just like it can your natural enamel. Avoid using your teeth as tools to cut thread or open plastic packaging.

Schedule routine dental checkups.

Routine dental cleanings and checkups are crucial to ensuring your dental crown and supporting tooth remain healthy. Routinely visiting the dentist allows them to ensure the crown is still fitting properly so it continues lasting for years. 

Crown Experts You Can Count On 

If you’re ready to have a healthier smile, dental crowns may be the right solution for you. At Dental Care Associates of Buffalo, we offer restorative dental services to help you achieve a healthy, happy smile. Serving Minnesota families for over 50 years, we take pride in providing gentle, expert care you can trust. Call us today to take charge of your dental health!

DCA of Buffalo