What is a dental crown?

Unlike a filling, a crown is custom-fabricated in one piece to the shape of your tooth and its surrounding teeth and tissues. These days, for adults the majority of crowns are either fully ceramic or ceramic on the outside and metal on the inside. In the past, all gold crowns were more common, but these are rarely done today. For children, crowns may still be made of stainless steel.

A crown has several purposes. It hugs the tooth together and supports it from all sides to keep it from breaking. It seals the top of the tooth from bacteria. It also helps to cover the inside of the tooth to keep it from becoming sensitive. Finally, a crown may also be done for cosmetic reasons, because its color is much easier to control than a natural tooth.

Do I need a crown?

A crown might be recommended for your tooth for many reasons, including:

  • Partially broken or fractured tooth
  • Filling that takes up too much of the tooth (filling material is not as strong as your natural tooth structure, so if a filling is too big it’s likely to break without a crown)
  • After a root canal treatment
  • If a tooth has had multiple fillings fail, especially if it is located in the front
  • To match another front tooth that is also getting a crown or veneer

Usually if a tooth has been recommended for a crown, it is best not to wait. Delaying this recommended treatment means the tooth is probably under too much stress and it is likely to break. If a tooth breaks too much, it may no longer be able to hold a crown and the tooth may need to be extracted.

What is it like getting a crown?

At Atlanta Family Dentistry, we make sure the process of getting a crown is as comfortable as possible for our patients. To begin with, we make sure the area is very numb. Next, we shape the tooth so that it will be able to hold onto the crown. After this, we shape the gums around the tooth so that they don’t cover the border the tooth will form with the crown.

We then take a mold of the tooth which will be sent to a dental laboratory to custom-make the crown. The dentist will make a temporary crown to wear while the permanent crown is being fabricated. After we cement the temporary crown and make sure it fits well and is comfortable, the first appointment is done.

A few weeks later, the permanent crown is ready. We remove the temporary crown and try in the permanent crown, and as long as the fit is up to our standards we will cement it permanently that day. From then on out, you can treat it just like your own tooth!

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