Dental Crown Frequently Asked Questions

dental crown frequently asked questionsA dental crown is one of the most common dental restorations we provide. Odds are high that you have a crown or you will get a crown at some point in your life. So, we thought we’d answer a few questions about dental crowns.

Dental Crown FAQs

What is a dental crown?

A crown is an artificial tooth-like structure, made of porcelain fused to metal, ceramic, or metal, placed on top of teeth to restore its function, shape, strength, and appearance. Protecting a damaged tooth is the primary purpose of a crown, but an added benefit is that they improve the appearance of your teeth.

Who needs a dental crown?

A broken tooth or structurally unsound tooth can lead to acute pain and possible tooth loss, jeopardizing your oral health and overall wellbeing. Crowns are often the preferred treatment in patients with damaged or missing teeth, or to protect teeth that are compromised by very large fillings. In addition, a crown saves a tooth from extraction, giving patients additional years of function with their natural tooth.

Crowns are also used to support the teeth on either side of dental bridges or protect a tooth that has received root canal treatment.

What is involved in a dental crown procedure?

A dental crown treatment typically involves two appointments. The first appointment is to assess your tooth, digitally scan the tooth, and prepare it for the new crown by removing some enamel. You will likely receive a temporary crown during the first visit. Since you will be wearing this crown for a couple of weeks, you will want to take special care of it. Brush it and floss between the temporarily crowned tooth and your regular teeth, but floss carefully by pulling the floss to the side rather than lifting it.

Between the first and second visit, a dental lab will create your porcelain crown, matching your original tooth’s size, shape, and color. During the second visit, the dentist will cement the permanent crown on your tooth and adjust the shape if necessary. 

How long should a crown last on a tooth?

The lifespan of a crown depends on the material used to make it. All-metal crowns typically last longest. Ceramic and porcelain crowns have a slightly shorter lifespan but are more natural-looking. Though most crowns are guaranteed to last five years, they often last as long as 20 years!

How long does a dental crown take to settle down?

It can take a few days to get used to having a new crown after your restorative procedure. It may feel uneven when you bite for the first couple of days. If it still feels uneven after a few days, you may want to contact your dentist. 

What should you avoid after getting a crown?

Though crowns are made of durable materials, it’s important to take care of your crown to extend its lifespan and the health of the tooth and gums around it. Just as with your natural teeth, avoid chewing hard or sticky food with your crowned tooth. These foods can contribute to tooth decay and can pull the crown off.

Take care of your crowned tooth just as you do your other teeth. Practice good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing regularly to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.

Can dental crowns break?

Dental crowns made of porcelain can chip or crack if there is enough wear and tear on them. Chewing hard, crunchy food or grinding your teeth can cause crowns to crack or break.

What should I do if a crown comes off my tooth?

Crowns can come loose or fall off. You’ll want to get to the dentist as soon as possible to have it reapplied or replaced because a crownless tooth can decay quickly. If your crown comes off, sterilize it with hydrogen peroxide and place it in a baggie so you can bring it with you to your dental appointment. Don’t eat on the side where the crown is missing.

If it will be a day or two before you can get to the dentist, you can try reapplying the crown by using a temporary crown cement (available in drugstores). But, carefully clean the tooth and crown first before attempting to reapply. And, make sure you place the crown in the correct position on the tooth.  

Learn about Ultimate Smile Design’s process for dental crowns here.