FAQs About Dental Crowns

What is a dental crown?

A crown is an artificial cover- a cap that replaces damaged areas and protects the remaining tooth. It is similar to a filling, but rather thanDental Crowns patching up a small area, crowns cover the entire tooth surface, and are custom-made to blend with the shape and color of the patient’s other teeth. 

Why are crowns necessary?

Crowns become necessary when too much of a tooth is damaged to support a filling. They are also used when protection is required after a root canal procedure, or they can be an option for cosmetic reasons. 

What is the procedure for crown placement?

First, the area will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Then, the dentist removes the damaged areas of the tooth, and shapes the remaining part of the tooth into a form that provides a solid base for the crown. A mold is taken of the re-shaped tooth, and of its counterpart on the other side of the mouth to correctly model the crown. A temporary crown is fitted so that the tooth can be used while you wait for the permanent crown to be designed and manufactured - usually 1 or 2 weeks. Another appointment will be necessary to remove the temporary crown, and place the permanent one. If you are satisfied with the appearance and feel, it will be set with an adhesive. 

What materials are used to make the crown?

Crowns can be made from metals, such as gold, nickel alloys, or palladium alloy. They can also be made from porcelain, resin, ceramic, or a combination of porcelain fused to metal. Each material has different pros and cons, and your dentist will help you decide which suits your needs best. 

How long does a crown last?

It can depend greatly based on the patient’s life - the amount of wear-and-tear from different foods, teeth grinding or clenching, oral hygiene practices, etc. Generally, a crown can be expected to last many years, sometimes up to 15. 

Do I need a root canal procedure as well as a crown?

The short answer is no. A root canal procedure is only necessary if the pulp inside the tooth has become infected. If you do need a root canal procedure, a crown will almost certainly be required as well. 

For more information about crowns, dental procedures, or to schedule an appointment in North Charleston, SC, call the experts at North Rivers Dental Associates at 843-553-7827.