What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are often called “caps” because that’s pretty much what they are: caps that go over teeth to give them an entirely new surface. Porcelain veneers cover just the display side of a tooth. Inlays and onlays cover just the damaged area of the tooth. A dental crown fully covers your tooth–everything above the gum line. This means that dental crowns can provide additional protection to vulnerable teeth. They can also provide support for weakened teeth. Plus, they can improve the appearance of your teeth from all directions.

When We Recommend Dental Crowns

Dental crowns can do a lot, but because they require the removal of a significant amount of your natural tooth, we only recommend them when other restorations aren’t up to the task. Dental crowns are best when you have:

  • A badly decayed or eroded tooth
  • A tooth weakened by wear, chipping, or cracking
  • A tooth treated with root canal therapy
  • Cosmetic treatment where a veneer might be vulnerable
  • A dental implant replacing a single tooth
  • A dental bridge supported by natural teeth
  • A tooth treated with root canal therapy
  • Cosmetic treatment where a veneer might be vulnerable
  • A badly decayed or eroded tooth
  • A tooth weakened by wear, chipping, or cracking
  • A dental implant replacing a single tooth
  • A dental bridge supported by natural teeth

If you have a tooth that is badly decayed, a dental crown not only repairs the current damage, it protects the tooth from additional damage. Dental restorations are not as vulnerable to acidic attack as natural tooth enamel. This makes crowns great for repairing teeth damaged by stomach acid, including for people with GERD or purgative eating disorders like bulimia nervosa.

Dental crowns also help if your tooth is weakened by wear, chipping, or cracking. The crown provides a resilient outer covering that absorbs biting and chewing force to protect your tooth. This includes teeth where a crack penetrates the living part of the tooth. In that case, you might need root canal therapy, and a dental crown is the best choice to protect your treated tooth.

Dental crowns also work great for cosmetic treatments when a veneer might not be strong enough or provide enough protection.

Dental crowns can even help with tooth replacement. We put a special dental crown atop a dental implant if it’s replacing a single tooth. We also incorporate dental crowns into a dental bridge when your natural teeth will support it.

The Dental Crown Procedure

Getting a dental crown doesn’t take long. In less than a month you can have one or more dental crowns protecting, supporting, and beautifying your teeth.

Evaluating Your Tooth

During your first appointment, your dentist will evaluate your tooth for a dental crown. There are a few reasons why we might decide a dental crown isn’t right for you, such as finding that another prosthetic might work better–such as an inlay or onlay. Perhaps we might decide that you need another procedure–such as root canal therapy–before you get a dental crown. We might also recommend that the tooth be extracted if it can’t be saved.

Sometimes other dentists will perform this step. If, for example, you are seeing an endodontist about root canal therapy, they will partner with us for the restorative portion of the procedure.

If we determine a dental crown is the best option, we’ll schedule your next appointment.

Preparing Your Tooth for a Dental Crown

At your next appointment, your dentist will prepare your tooth to receive a dental crown. This means removing enough natural tooth material to make room and creating a supporting shape for the dental crown to sit on. In addition, your dentist will remove damaged and weakened tooth material.

Then your dentist will take an impression of your tooth. This doesn’t mean you have to bite into an impression tray. We use a digital scanner to create a 3D image of your tooth. We can send this to the lab where they will custom-craft your dental crown.

After sending your impression to the lab, we will create a temporary dental crown to protect your tooth until your permanent crown is ready.

Final Fitting for Your Dental Crown

At your third appointment, your dentist will set your crown. First, they will check to ensure it fits properly and looks attractive. You will get to see it yourself before it is bonded in place. Once you’re both happy with the dental crown, your dentist will bond it in place.

A delighted woman exudes joy following the completion of her Dental Crowns procedure

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

Dental crowns are long-lasting dental restorations. We expect most of them to last about 10-15 years, but when properly designed and placed, your dental crown could last much longer.

Why See a Prosthodontist for Your Dental Crown

Dental crowns are powerful dental restorations. Properly used, they can protect and repair a badly damaged tooth, giving it new life. When poorly placed, though, dental crowns are strong enough that they can lead to bite problems and excessive wear on opposing teeth.

When getting a dental crown, choose a dentist who has the training, equipment, and experience to properly place dental crowns.

A prosthodontist is a recognized dental specialist in restorations like dental crowns. At South Bay Prosthodontics, we spend every day restoring smiles with prosthetics like dental crowns. We are ready to give you a beautiful, functional, and comfortable dental crown.

Get a Dental Crown in Torrance, CA

If you have a badly damaged tooth that you think might benefit from a dental crown, don’t just go to a general dentist. See a specialist in dental restorations like crowns at South Bay Prosthodontics today.

Please call (310) 378-9261 or use our online form today to request an appointment at our Torrance, CA, dental office.