Dental crowns are a common dental procedure that protects damaged teeth or restores a weak or broken down tooth by being placed over your natural tooth. A dental crown is an artificial “cap” or “shell” that is placed over a prepared tooth to cover it to restore its size, strength, shape, or improve its appearance. When they are put in place, they fully encase the tooth. This is different from a veneer that only covers a portion of the tooth structure.
When is a crown needed?
A dentist may recommend a dental crown if:
- Your tooth is weakened.
- Your tooth has a large filling.
- The tooth cavity is too large for a filling alone.
- You had a root canal and a crown is needed to help restore the tooth.
- You had a dental implant placed.
- Your tooth is discoloured or oddly shaped and you want to improve the appearance of your tooth.
What types of crowns are available?
Gold alloy: Gold alloy crowns are a combination of copper, gold, and other metals. These crowns are typically long-lasting as they rarely fracture, making them a great choice for patients who don’t mind not having a perfectly white smile or need a crown on a back tooth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal: This type of crown has a strong metal substructure and tooth-coloured porcelain outer covering. The porcelain portion of the crown blends well with natural teeth, making this type of crown more aesthetically pleasing than a gold-crown.
Zirconia: These types of crowns are composed of a powered metal called zirconium oxide. Zirconia crowns are very durable as they can withstand strong biting and chewing forces. Another benefits is that they can be made to match the natural colour of your teeth as they come in a number of shades.
Porcelain: Porcelain crowns are considered to be the most aesthetically pleasing option. They are strong and durable, but less so than zirconia or metal crowns. Most often used to restore teeth in the front of the mouth, porcelain crowns can mimic natural teeth well.
At Simpli Dental, we offer dental crowns in zirconia, porcelain, gold and other types of metal.
What are the steps involved in getting a dental crown?
It usually takes two visits to the dentist for complete crown placement.
- Tooth preparation (1st appointment): After taking x-rays to check the bone support and root of the tooth, if needed, decayed tooth structure or inadequate fillings are removed and the outer portion is reduced to fit the crown.
- Making a “good impression!” (1st appointment): An impression of your tooth is made to provide the lab with a model for your prepared tooth so they can fabricate the crown outside of your mouth. These impressions include the patient’s prepared tooth as well as teeth beside and below (or above) the prepared tooth. We need to capture several teeth so the dental laboratory can make sure your crown contacts adjacent and opposing teeth properly. The impressions are then sent to a lab where your new crown will be made and sent to your dentist.
- Temporary crown placement (1st appointment): The dentist or registered dental assistant will fabricate and temporarily cement a temporary crown over the prepared tooth structure. This is to protect your tooth and maintain the position of adjacent and opposing teeth. During the two weeks while waiting for your permanent crown, you may experience some tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks, and it’s best to avoid sticky or hard foods.
- Permanent crown placement (2nd appointment): When your permanent crown is ready, you will come in for your last dental visit. Your dentist will place your new crown in your mouth, check its fit and appearance, adjust as needed, and cement the new crown into place. All done! The new crown should be ready to go, and you’ll have a beautiful new smile.
Do all root canals lead to dental crowns?
The answer to this question depends on how much natural tooth structure is remaining. Oftentimes when root canal treatment is performed there is not enough natural tooth structure remaining and the tooth is weak and susceptible to breakage. The best way to determine if a crown is needed following root canal treatment is by scheduling a consultation at our offices in Regina, Saskatoon, or Calgary. We will be happy to assist you.
Dental crowns at Simpli Dental start at $700 (plus lab fees).