If you break a tooth or have a root canal, you may need a dental crown on one of your teeth. A dental crown is placed over your tooth, giving you a natural-looking and stable tooth.
When you get a dental crown, you may wonder what it’s made of. At Sokoly Dental, Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly and our team in Washington, DC, have the expertise and experience to explain more about what a crown is, when one is recommended, and the different types of dental crown materials.
When you need a crown
There are several reasons you may need a dental crown. They include:
- Protecting a weak tooth
- Restoring a broken tooth
- Supporting and covering a large filling with little tooth remaining
- Covering misshapen teeth
- Supporting a dental bridge
- Covering a tooth after a root canal
- Covering a dental implant
If you have any of the above issues, we can place a crown to give you the solution you need.
How to prep your tooth for a crown
If you need a crown, we first prepare your tooth. This requires filing down your natural tooth to a small fraction of its usual size, allowing room for the crown — sometimes called a cap — to be placed on top. If you’re missing too much of your natural tooth, possibly due to decay, we build it up with a filling material.
We might take X-rays of your tooth to ensure there’s no infection. We also take impressions of your tooth to create the final crown that we place in your mouth.
You receive a temporary crown that you wear until the permanent crown comes back from the laboratory where it’s made.
Types of dental crown materials
You have several dental crown materials to choose from. Most often, people choose porcelain or porcelain that’s fused to metal for their crown. However, making this choice may depend on your insurance coverage and personal preferences.
You can also have your crown made from metal, such as gold, nickel, palladium, or chromium. Metal crowns are generally cheaper than porcelain crowns and are durable. They tend to last the longest of any crowns and are resistant to chipping or breaking.
You can also get a crown made out of resin, which is the cheapest option. However, resin is generally less durable than other materials.
How long crowns last
Unfortunately, crowns aren’t permanent, though they last for a long time. The life of an average crown is 5-15 years. However, you play a role in the lifespan of your crown. You need to practice good dental hygiene that includes brushing and flossing your teeth every day to maximize the length of time you can keep your crown.
You can also make your crown last by avoiding certain bad habits like chewing on ice, biting down on pencils or pens, using your teeth to open packaging, and biting your fingernails.
To learn more about dental crowns, or to find out if you might need one, contact our friendly office staff to book an appointment with Dr. Sokoly and our team. You can also schedule your visit online.