Christopher and Anne Thompson, DDS: Dental Crowns
Dental crowns, also referred to as tooth crowns, caps, or simply crowns, are used cover tooth structure when a natural tooth must be altered due to decay, damage, or usually after a root canal. Crowns are used to restore existing tooth structure back to it's original size, shape, and strength.
What Are Crowns Made Of?
Dentists use different materials for crowns depending on their purpose and location. Temporary crowns, for example, may be made from metal and used to protect existing tooth structure until a permanent crown is made. Some crowns can be made entirely of resin, which makes them cheaper, but also less durable. At the higher end of the price scale and usually the most popular because of appearance and strength are tooth-colored porcelain crowns. This is likely because they most closely resemble natural teeth and can be color-matched so no one will even know you have it.
How Much Do Crowns Cost?
The cost of a dental crown is highly dependent on the material it is made from, where it will be placed in a patient's mouth, if any other procedures need to be completed to ensure a healthy procedure, and how your dentist actually makes the crown. In general, the national average is about $500-$1500. As mentioned above, the material used to construct dental crowns can vary widely, as does the methods for manufacturing the crown. Some dental practices will take impressions and send those off to a lab for final construction, whereas others may use machines like CEREC to make permanent crowns in one visit.
Although it's difficult to nail down an average cost because of so many variables, the great news is that dentists are happy to have a consultation to discuss all your options and develop a plan that fits your goals and budget. Additionally, many dental insurance plans significantly cover the cost of crowns.
What Does Getting a Crown Involve?
A dental crown procedure is usually completed in two visits. During the first appointment, a dentist will take X-rays and prepare the tooth and usually place a temporary crown while impressions or molds are used to complete a permanent crown.
On the second visit, the fit and color are matched for permenent crown. If everything checks out, the new dental crown is permanently fitted.
How Long Will a Dental Crown Last?
The average life of a dental crown is about 10-15 years if high quality materials are used and the crown fits well. It will endure normal wear and tear over time and be susceptible to harder, crunchy foods. Some special considerations for dental crowns include:
- Avoid chewing excessively hard foods with your crown.
- Avoid biting your fingernails.
- Avoid chewing on ice.
- Don't use your crown to open packaging with your teeth.
- Be mindful of extremely sticky foods on your crown.
- A crown does not protect the underlying tooth structure from all decay, so maintain your normal oral health routine.
- Floss daily between any crowns.
- Talk to your dentist is you grind your teeth from stress or when you sleep.