Dental crown on a smoothed tooth
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown, also known as a cap, is a fixed prosthetic device. Crowns restore the tooth to a normal size and shape. They are attached to either an implant or a tooth that’s been smoothed down. Reasons for getting a crown could be for either cosmetic or functional reasons.
Why do I Need a Dental Crown?
Reasons for getting a dental crown can include:
- Cavity too large for filling
- Cracked tooth
- Worn down tooth
- Root canal
- Cosmetic – Patient wants to cover a discolored tooth or modify the shape
- To cover a dental implant
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns can either be placed on an implant or tooth supported
Crowns vs Inlays vs Onlays
Each of these methods have some similarities. The largest factor in determining which method is needed is the amount of tooth decay.
Crowns are used when most (or all) of the tooth structure must be replaced. When crowns are used, the natural tooth (or implant) isn’t visible at all as it’s completely covered by the crown. If most of the tooth structure doesn’t need to be replaced an inlay or onlay may be an option.
An onlay is less invasive than a crown and covers the tooth cusp, or the top part of the tooth. If the bottom half of a tooth is healthy than an onlay can be an alternate option instead of a crown. An onlay can also be a great long term solution to a traditional filling.
An inlay is like an onlay, except it covers the middle of the cusp. Traditionally inlays are used if a cavity is too big for a filling, however not large enough for an onlay or dental crown. Just like the onlay, an inlay can also be a great long term solution to traditional fillings.
Does the Dental Crown Procedure Hurt?
Before placing the implant or performing the crown prep, we will apply a local anesthetic. This may feel slightly uncomfortable and seem like being pinched. After the anesthetic is administered you will be numb and not feel any pain.
After the procedure, there may be some minor discomfort and sensitivity for a while. If needed ibuprofen can be taken after the procedure.
Steps for Placing a Dental Crown
Same Day Crowns
When the crown is tooth supported the crown can be done on the same day. Best of all, it just takes about 2 hours to complete.
Not all dental practices can do same day crowns, but we can as we have all the technology to perform this such as a CEREC machine.
Procedure for same day crowns:
- A CEREC machine is used to take a scan of your mouth
- Dr. Cha will perform a crown prep which involves smoothing down the tooth
- Our CEREC machine will mill the crown in our office. This process takes only about an hour
- The crown will be placed in your mouth
Implant Supported Crowns
When implants are necessary to support a crown, it will take about two appointments. The first appointment will set the base of the implant. This is the part that screws into the bone tissue. After installing the implant its’ necessary to wait about 3 months until the implant integrates with the bone. After the implant is integrated with the bone tissue, you will come back to get the crown placed
- Take a digital scan using the CEREC machine
- Do a crown prep
- Crown placed in mouth after it’s made (this usually takes less than an hour to create)
What Materials are Used in a Crown?
Crowns can be made from metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, and many other types of materials. Factors for which material is used can include the tooth’s location, color of teeth, as well as your preference.
At Hampden Dental Loft we primarily use either Zirconia or lithium disilicate. Both are terrific options and we use both types in our dental practice.
This is an extremely durable material. It’s a white metal that somewhat resembles titanium. Zirconia is one of the more durable materials for crowns, but one of the disadvantages is it doesn’t look as beautiful as some other material options.
Although not as durable as Zirconia, lithium disilicate looks more like a natural tooth. Due to this we often use it on front teeth. Even though it’s not as durable as zirconia, it is strong enough to last a very long time.
How Long do Crowns Last?
We often say that you can expect your crown to last at least 10 years. However, it’s not uncommon for them to last several decades. For example, we have seen some patients with crowns that are over 30 years old!
How long a crown lasts primarily comes down to two factors. The first factor comes down to the dentist’s skill level. If a dentist is highly skilled with designing and creating the crown, it will naturally last longer. The second factor is entirely controlled by you and it comes down to taking good care of your crown.
How to Care for Your Dental Crown
Unlike a bridge, taking care of a crown is very similar to how you should care for your natural teeth. This involves brushing and flossing at least once a day. Plus, it’s important to avoid chewing hard foods such as ice or hard candy. And of course, always make sure you see your dentist for checkups and cleanings on a regular basis.
Dental crown being milled in our CEREC machine
How we Make our Dental Crowns in our Greenwood Village Office
At Hampden Dental Loft we have a CEREC machine that we use to make crowns in our Greenwood Village office. This has two main benefits. First, we have complete control over the manufacturing process. Second, it is extremely convenient for our patients as we can make them in one day. Our patients can get their mouth digitally scanned and have the crown placed within the same visit.
Are dental crowns covered by Insurance?
Yes, dental crowns are typically covered by insurance. It’s common for dental insurance to pay 50% of the cost. If you don’t have dental insurance, we have affordable insurance options that we can suggest.
Why get a CEREC Crown at our Greenwood Village Office?
At Hampden Dental Loft we have all the cutting-edge technology to provide a terrific experience. Being able to do same day crowns is a game changer as you will have less appointments and won’t have to wear a temporary crown.
Not only can we do same day crowns with our CEREC machine, but we can also take digital scans. This means no gummy impression material. And because Dr. Cha is highly skilled with placing crowns and using our technology, you’ll get amazing results right here in Greenwood Village CO.