Dental crowns are fixed prosthetic devices that are cemented onto natural teeth or implants. Unlike dentures which may be removed daily for cleaning or rinsing, only a dentist can remove a dental crown.
A dental crown covers the entirety of a damaged tooth to provide extra strength and an improved appearance. Crowns may also be placed on implants for a natural tooth-like shape and function. Crowns may be made of porcelain to match natural teeth or made from gold and metal alloys, acrylic, or ceramic. Crowns can:
The process of creating a crown begins with an exam to determine if crowns are the right treatment for your dental needs. The dentist looks at the conditions of the tooth, the alignment of the smile, and discusses your options based on budget, aesthetic goals, placement, and more. A material will be decided and an impression of the tooth made. Each crown is custom-made to fit your tooth and your smile. If using porcelain, the dentist will determine the best shade to match your existing teeth for natural-looking results.
Using the impression of the tooth, the crowns are made in a dental lab. A temporary crown may be used to protect your tooth in the meanwhile. The dentist later removes and replaces the temporary with a permanent crown.
When well cared for, some crowns can last a lifetime. However, if a crown becomes loose of falls out, it will need to be replaced. The best way to protect your crown (and your natural teeth) is to practice good oral hygiene with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups. Also avoid chewing hard foods or ice immediately after placement.