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Dental Crowns: Types, Procedures, Cost, and Aftercare

3D rendering of dental crown, inlay, and onlay fillings
3d render of teeth with dental crown, inlay, and onlay filling over white background

Our smiles are the first aspect that others will notice in us and can build up or knock down our confidence. When looking at the way to restore a broken or damaged tooth, there can be some confusion around the many procedures that a dentist might put in place. 

Below, we will have a look at dental crowns, how they work, and why they might be the right solution for your needs. These are not a new technology, and they have been tested and developed over time. Learn more here, or get in touch with Lexington Family Smiles to get all of your questions answered.

What Are Dental Crowns?

First of all, let’s see what dental crowns are and what they look like. Dental crowns are tailor-made cups for one of your natural teeth that have become broken, decayed, or damaged. Dental crowns are a technology that has been around since the late 1880s, but it has developed over time to become stronger and more durable, natural-looking, and versatile.

Depending on your damaged tooth location, you might consider metal dental crowns or more natural-looking all-porcelain crowns. Your dentist at Lexington Family Smile will be able to guide you in the choice. 

The Different Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are available in a range of materials, such as:

  • Porcelain and all-porcelain
  • Metal, such as gold, chromium, palladium, and nickel
  • Ceramic and Emax Ceramic
  • Zirconia
  • Composite resin
  • E- MAX: Lithium Disilicate Crowns
  • A combination of these materials, such as in Porcelain Fused-to-Metal Crowns (PFM)

Each of these materials has considerable advantages and disadvantages. For example, metal crowns might be particularly strong, but they are visible and don’t match your smile’s natural look. 

Your dentist at Lexington Family Smile will help you pick the right solution based on several factors such as:

  • The look and color of your natural smile
  • The damaged tooth’s location and how visible it is when you smile
  • The function of the damaged tooth (molars will need to be stronger and more durable)
  • The quality of your remaining natural tooth
  • Your personal preferences

Dental Crowns, ¾ Crowns, and Onlays

Dental crowns are caps that will cover the entire tooth. However, if only a small part of the tooth is damaged, you and your dentist might decide to opt for ¾ crowns, inlays, or onlays. These are made with similar materials as crowns, but they only cover or reconstruct a portion of the tooth.

When Do You Need Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are among the most used solutions to restore a smile, and your dentist might decide to use them for a variety of issues. 

Some of the instances that might require a crown include:

  • A tooth cavity that has become too big or severe for a normal filling
  • A severely damaged tooth
  • A worn-down tooth
  • A cracked or weakened tooth

Dental crowns can also be employed to increase the efficiency of other dental treatments such as root canals and bridges. Indeed, dental crowns might help to strengthen a fragile tooth or replace a missing one.

Cost of A Dental Crown

A dental crown may cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 per crown without insurance. There are many costs involved in making a crown, which is why the cost of a crown can be so high. However, with insurance, the cost can be as low as a couple of hundred dollars to about a thousand dollars ($250 – $1000) depending on the insurance you have.

What to Expect from a Dental Crown Placement Procedure

Many patients tend to feel somehow intimidated when having to visit a dentist. Understanding what procedure to expect can help you arrive prepared and get rid of some unnecessary worries. Learn more about a dental crown placement procedure below or contact Lexington Family Smiles to know more. 

Same-Day vs. Temporary Crown Treatment

Crown treatments can take place over the course of two visits or within a single day. Often, you will complete your first visit and have a temporary crown in place until a permanent one is manufactured – which can take several weeks. 

However, a crown can also be manufactured in-house with a CEREC® device or a similar machine. This option does not require you to wear a temporary crown and can be completed within a day. 

Below, we’ll see the most common kind of dental crown placement procedure – the two-visits treatment.

First Visit: X-Rays, Tooth Preparation, and Temporary Crowns

From the first visit with your dentist, you can expect a thorough investigation of the issue, giving you a better idea of the right solution for your needs. 

During this first appointment, you will experience these steps:

  1. Investigation and X-Rays: Your dentist will carry out an examination of your whole dental structure and take an X-ray of the tooth and underneath jawbone. The X-ray results will highlight potential decay and damage.
  2. Pre-Treatment Procedures: Depending on your situation, your tooth might require a root canal treatment before the crown fitting. This happens when the tooth’s pulp is injured and exposed to infections. 
  3. Tooth Preparation and Reshaping: The damaged tooth needs to be reshaped to accommodate the crown. The extent of this intervention will depend on the type of crown used. For example, metal crowns are generally thinner, which means that less tooth surface will need to be removed. During this step, your dentist will also treat any decay.
  4. Impressions of the Tooth: Once the tooth has been reshaped and ready to welcome a crown, your dentist will take the impressions and record the color and aesthetic details about your smile. This information will help them create custom-made crowns that will look natural once in place.
  5. Temporary Crowns: At the end of the first visit, your dentist will fit in a temporary crown. While custom made, this crown might not be so fitting for your smile, but it is only a temporary solution. 

Second Visit: Crown Placement

After your first visit, your teeth’s impressions are sent to a laboratory to create accurate crowns. The custom-made permanent crown can take weeks to arrive at your dentist’s studio. 

During your second visit, your dentist will start by removing the temporary crown that had been put in place. After checking that the final result is as close as possible to your natural smile’s look, your dentist will cement the dental crown in place. 

During this step, your dentist might deliver a local anesthetic and correct the crown to fit your bite perfectly.

Aftercare and Recovery Times

After treatment, the recovery period can last for a few days, during which you might experience some irritation, sensitivity, discomfort, or inflammation of the tooth that has been treated. These sensations will fade in a few days.

When cared for properly, crowns can last for over ten years. Some tips to look after your dental crowns include:

  • Practice careful brushing.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth
  • Floss daily 
  • Avoid hard foods
  • Use a night-guard to prevent the damages of bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth at night)

Contact Lexington Family Smiles in Lexington, SC

Crowns are not only a great option to restore the look of your smile but also to prevent discomfort, dangerous infections, and reduced functionalities of your dental structures. Because of this, it is crucial to find a dentist who can help you find the right match for your needs.

You can learn more about these options by contacting Lexington Family Smiles in Lexington, SC, and schedule your appointment today.