Dental Crown

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap on top of a damaged tooth that restores its strength, function, and look.

It is a common fix for a tooth that is worn out, decayed, or weakened beyond repair, or just badly discolored.

Learn here about a dental crown's benefits, types, risks, cost and more.

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  • dental crown
  • porcelain crown
  • professional smile

Benefits of dental crown

Nearly a real tooth

A dental crown has definite benefits:

  • Functional - A crowned tooth allows chewing and speaking as if it were natural.
  • Natural - Shape, size, and even color are matched to adjacent teeth, for a natural look.
  • Durable - A crown lasts typically 5-10+ years, often much longer.

These benefits require you to care for the tooth cap as you should any other tooth.

Types of tooth caps

Which fits you?

Tooth crowns are largely of three types:

  • Gold crown - It moulds and preserves teeth best, but looks unnatural.
  • Porcelain, resin or ceramic crown - It looks most natural (matching colors), but chips or wears more easily, especially if you chew ice or grind teeth.
  • Porcelain-on-metal crown - It combines the above advantages and avoids the disadvantages, but if gums recede, the underlying metal shows as a dark, thin line.

Onlays, inlays and 3/4 crowns are smaller variations of the above.

Risks & solutions

What to expect

Dental crowns do pose some risks. Fortunately, the most common risks also admit simple solutions:

  • The crown procedure may damage the tooth's nerve - solution: root canal. (If preliminary x-ray reveals that tooth decay has damaged the tooth's nerves, a root canal is necessary in any case.)
  • A crowned tooth may become sensitive to hot/cold beverages - solution: desensitizing toothpaste.
  • A crowned tooth may decay, if any cement that secures the crown dissolves and bacteria enter - solution: regular check-ups of the cement.

Cost Of Crowns

How are you insured?

Crowns cost $500-$2,500 depending on the type, with porcelain the most and porcelain-over-metal the least. The cost of a root canal, if needed, is separate. Insurance plans vary widely as to how much or how often they cover a crown's cost.

Ancient Dental Crowns

Did you know?

Etruscan dental crowns (bridges) are the earliest samples, dated around 600 B.C. Interestingly, Etruscan dental crowns were of gold and only worn by women, perhaps for cosmetic reasons befitting their high status. Yet as the neighboring Romans became dominant, the technique seems to have disappeared, given the absence of samples after Julius Caesar's time.