What is a Dental Crown and why is it needed?

dental crowns

You only get one set of permanent teeth, so it’s incredibly important that you care for them. Sometimes that means getting a treatment that preserves and protects your teeth. 

When you see the dentist for an exam, especially if it has been a while between visits, they might tell you that you need a dental crown. It is one of the most common answers to a couple of very common problems.

Let’s talk about exactly what a crown is and why you might need one. 

A dental crown is a treatment that slips over and covers your tooth, usually to prevent further decay or damage. You may need a dental crown if you have a:

Large filling

Perhaps you have had several cavities over the years on a single tooth. Every time it is filled, the dentist first needs to remove some of the structure in order to fill it. Therefore, over time, there is less and less of the structure left so that a crown is needed to preserve what is left of the tooth.

Cracked tooth

In this case, a crown is the best option and can prevent further treatments like root canals and bridges. If your dentist notices a fracture in a tooth or sees that a tooth has cracked and been fixed in the past, they might recommend a crown to preserve the integrity of the tooth.

To prepare your tooth for a crown, the dentist will remove a small portion from all sides of the exposed tooth and then will make an impression of it. When the crown is back from the lab, you will have to go in for an appointment so they can slip it over top of the tooth and cement it in to place.

There are several different materials that a crown can be made of:

  • Ceramic — best for front facing teeth because they look the closest to natural tooth colour. Pure ceramic (porcelain-based) aren’t always recommended for back teeth because they can break down from heavy chewing.
  • Porcelain/metal — good for back teeth because they are extremely durable.
  • Gold alloys — can be a mix of gold with other metals like copper. These can add a bit of flash to the smile, and they are very durable without wearing away the tooth.
  • Base metal alloys — highly resistant to corrosion and the least amount of tooth needs to be removed for these to fit and be effective.

While the average life of a crown is around a decade, give or take a few years, gold alloy crowns can last double or triple that amount of time.

We hope this helps clear up any misconceptions or confusion you might have about dental crowns. Of course, talking to us in person is the best way to sort out any more questions you might have.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while and are afraid that you are going to get bad news, it’s really never too late. And it’s better to get something like a crown than major reconstructive treatment.  

At Semiahmoo Dental, we will help you get your oral health to a good place. And if you do need a dental crown, we will be happy to help you out.