Karrinyup Dental Centre

What Are Dental Crowns and Why You Need Them

Karrinyup Dental Centre

Written by:

Dr. Justin Soon

Published on:

What Are Dental Crowns and Why You Need Them

Dental crowns act as protective caps for weakened or damaged teeth, restoring shape, size, and strength and enhancing appearance. They’re ideal for teeth that have extensive decay, have undergone root canal treatment, or are broken. Maintaining dental crowns involves simple oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing. These habits help keep your crown and oral health in excellent shape. This article will discuss what are dental crowns, their advantages, the procedure for obtaining them, and tips for proper care. Our goal is to provide you with helpful information so you can make a decision that benefits your smile and oral health.

Summary of The Content

  • Dental crowns protect weakened or damaged teeth, offering functional and aesthetic benefits.
  • Crowns can be made from porcelain, ceramic, and metals, chosen based on the tooth’s location and patient preference.
  • Crowns restore shape, size, and strength to teeth affected by decay, fractures, or after root canal treatment.
  • A dental crown procedure involves preparing the tooth, taking an impression, and dental crown placement.
  • Crowns prevent further damage, help stop decay, improve the appearance of worn or discoloured teeth, and support dental bridges.
  • Key benefits of dental crowns include improved appearance, enhanced chewing function, protection against decay, and longevity with proper care.
  • Selection factors include material durability, aesthetic needs, and cost, emphasising the need for professional consultation.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are custom-made restorations for teeth that need reinforcement or aesthetic enhancement. They are designed to fit over the entire visible part of a tooth, restoring it to its natural shape, size, and function.

Crowns are used for various purposes, including protecting weakened teeth from further damage, restoring broken or worn teeth, and covering dental implants. Crowns are also used for improving the appearance of discoloured or misshapen teeth.

  • Materials:
    Dental crowns can be made of different materials, including porcelain, ceramic, gold alloys, and base metal alloys. The choice of material depends on various factors, such as the location of the tooth, the patient’s preferences, and the need for strength or aesthetic appeal.
  • Purpose:
    A dental crown has two primary goals. The first is to enhance the strength of a tooth, while the second is to improve its appearance so that it can blend in naturally with the adjacent teeth.
  • Application process:
    The dental crown process involves preparing the tooth by reshaping it, taking precise impressions, and fabricating a crown that matches the shape and colour of the natural teeth. Once made, the custom crown is securely attached to the tooth, providing long-lasting protection and aesthetic improvement.

Dental Crown vs Filling

Dental crowns and fillings are two common dental procedures used to restore teeth affected by decay or damage. Understanding when each is appropriate can help you make informed decisions about your oral health care.

  • Application:
    • Crowns are used when a tooth is significantly damaged or decayed, after a root canal treatment, to cover a dental implant, or when a large filling needs more support and protection.
    • Fillings are ideal for repairing minor-to-moderate tooth decay or fractures.
  • Durability and protection:
    • Crowns generally offer superior durability and protection compared to fillings. They completely cover the tooth, providing a strong layer of protection against further decay or damage.
    • Fillings, while effective for restoring the tooth, do not provide as much strength as crowns. They are suitable for smaller areas of decay and can last many years, but they may eventually need to be replaced.
  • Aesthetic and functional outcomes:
    • Crowns offer excellent aesthetic and functional outcomes, especially when made from porcelain or ceramic, which can be matched to the colour of natural teeth. They are designed to look and feel like a natural tooth, providing not only a cosmetic improvement but also restoring the tooth’s functionality for biting and chewing.
    • Modern fillings, especially tooth-coloured composite fillings, can also provide good aesthetic outcomes, blending in with the natural tooth. However, for large restorations, fillings may not be as visually appealing as crowns.

The Many Uses of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are versatile and essential in addressing a variety of dental conditions. Here’s how they’re commonly used:

  • After root canal treatment:
    Crowns protect the tooth, maintaining its functionality and strength.
  • For cracked teeth:
    They encapsulate the tooth, preventing further damage and preserving its integrity.
  • On decayed teeth:
    Crowns cover and restore teeth with extensive decay when fillings are not viable.
  • Improving worn-down teeth:
    Crowns can be used to restore teeth that have been eroded by acid or worn down due to grinding, bringing them back to their original size and shape.
  • Cosmetic purposes:
    Crowns enhance the appearance of discoloured or misshapen teeth, offering a natural and appealing look.

Why Dental Crowns Are Beneficial

Dental crowns offer many benefits for individuals looking to improve their oral health and smile. Here are the key benefits of dental crowns:

  • Improved appearance:
    Crowns are designed to match the natural tooth colour, effectively enhancing the appearance of discoloured teeth. They provide a seamless and aesthetically pleasing appearance, blending naturally with your natural teeth.
  • Strengthened teeth:
    Crowns offer a protective layer, reinforcing teeth weakened by decay or damage. They strengthen the prepared tooth, promoting its longevity and functionality.
  • Enhanced functionality:
    With dental crowns, the functionality of damaged or decayed teeth is restored, allowing for better chewing and biting. Crowns help maintain the natural tooth integrity, enabling normal mouth functions without discomfort.
  • Protection against further decay:
    By covering the entire visible area of the tooth, crowns protect the natural tooth surface from further decay. They play a crucial role in preventing the spread of decay to neighbouring teeth and reducing the risk of infection.
  • Support for dental bridges:
    Crowns are integral in anchoring dental bridges and maintaining the stability of the dental restoration.
  • Durability:
    Designed to withstand the rigours of daily use, crowns are durable and long-lasting. With proper dental hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, crowns can protect and restore your teeth for many years.
  • Customisation:
    Every crown is custom-fitted to the patient’s tooth, providing a comfortable fit and a natural look. This personalised approach allows each crown to meet the specific needs and preferences of the patient.

Dental crowns are an extremely versatile dental treatment with functional and cosmetic advantages. They are essential in restoring the health and beauty of teeth damaged by decay, trauma, or normal wear and tear. Doing so enhances overall dental health and helps improve one’s self-esteem by giving them the confidence to smile.

How to Choose the Right Dental Crown for You

Choosing the right dental crown is crucial for your oral health, affecting both the functionality and appearance of your teeth. Here’s a simplified guide:

  • Identify your needs:
    The tooth’s location is critical. Metal crowns, known for their durability, are ideal for back teeth due to their strength in withstanding chewing forces. For front teeth, porcelain or ceramic crowns are preferred for their natural appearance.
  • Dental crown material matters:
    Dental crowns can be made from various materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
    • Porcelain or ceramic crowns:
      These are commonly used for front teeth due to their natural colour, and they are ideal for people with metal allergies.
    • Metal crowns:
      Metal crowns offer excellent durability and resistance to corrosion, making them suitable for restoring back teeth.
    • Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns:
      These offer a good balance between strength and aesthetics. However, the metal under the porcelain cap can sometimes show as a dark line along the gums.
  • Cost considerations:
    When discussing treatment costs with your dentist, consider the long-term value of each option and not just the initial affordability
  • Lifespan and care:
    Understand the expected lifespan and maintenance requirements for each type of crown. Metal crowns generally last longer and require less care, while porcelain ones may need more attention to avoid damage.
  • Professional advice:
    Consult with your dentist to get a professional recommendation that suits your needs. Your dentist can help you weigh the pros and cons of each material based on your specific situation, health conditions (like allergies), and aesthetic preferences. They can also provide a detailed treatment plan that includes the expected lifespan of the crown, care instructions, and cost.

Dental Crown Costs and Affordability

Choosing the right dental crown is crucial to maintaining or improving oral health. It’s not simply about restoring a tooth but selecting the most suitable dental crown option for your lifestyle, appearance, and budget. To assist you in making an informed decision, here’s a simple guide that considers the options available and the associated dental crown costs.

The material of the crown is vital to its function and aesthetics. These types of dental crowns have their own set of advantages:

  • Ceramic and porcelain crowns:
    These offer a natural appearance, matching the colour of your original tooth. Ideal for front teeth, they can cost up to $2,100. Porcelain crowns are particularly favoured for their aesthetic appeal.
  • Full metal crowns:
    Metal crowns are often chosen by patients for their durability and strength. They are suitable for back teeth that bear the brunt of chewing and grinding. The cost ranges from $1,800 to $4,700, reflecting their longevity and material quality.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns:
    These crowns are a middle-ground option that combines the strength of metal with the natural look of porcelain. These crowns are priced between $1,700 and $2,500, making them an appealing choice for patients who require durability without compromising the appearance of teeth.

Factors to consider:

  • Location and function of the tooth:
    Front teeth benefit from ceramic or porcelain for a natural look, while back teeth might need the strength of metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
  • Aesthetic preferences:
    If appearance is a priority, porcelain or ceramic crowns are your go-to. For teeth not visible when you smile, consider metal crowns.
  • Budget:
    Metal crowns might be more economical in the long run due to their durability, especially for teeth under heavy use.
  • Sufficient tooth structure:
    Before placing a crown, it’s essential to check if there is sufficient natural tooth structure left. Extensive decay may require additional treatments such as a root canal treatment or post and core build-up.

Consulting with your dentist is essential when understanding what are dental crowns and finding out the right crown for you. The right crown can restore the function and appearance of your smile.

What to Do If You Experience Issues with Your Dental Crown

If you’re experiencing issues with your dental crown, it’s important to address the problem promptly to avoid further complications. Here are some steps and considerations for managing issues with a dental crown:

  1. Immediate action:
    If your crown becomes loose or falls out, keep it safe. Avoid using glue or other adhesives to reattach it yourself, as this can damage the tooth and crown.
  2. Schedule a consultation:
    Contact your dentist as soon as possible to arrange a consultation. It’s important to address the issue quickly to avoid further damage to your tooth.
  3. Oral hygiene:
    Continue to practise good dental hygiene habits while being gentle around the affected area. This helps prevent infection and keeps the site clean until you have your appointment.
  4. Understand the process and dental crown costs:
    During your appointment, your dentist will assess whether the crown can be reattached or if you need a new one. They will explain the procedure for crown replacement and the cost involved.
  5. Choosing a new crown:
    Discuss the types of dental crowns available with your dentist if a new one is needed. The choice will depend on the tooth’s location and your aesthetic preferences.

Following these steps will allow you to effectively manage dental crown concerns and maximise the benefits of dental crowns.

How to Care for Your Dental Crown

Maintaining your dental crown is crucial for its longevity and the overall health of your mouth. Here are practical steps to keep your crown in good condition:

  1. Practise good oral hygiene:
    Brush twice daily and floss once a day. Pay close attention to the area around your crown to prevent plaque accumulation, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Use the right tools:
    Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to avoid scratching the surface of porcelain crowns. These can cause the crowns to lose their lustre.
  3. Regular dental check-ups:
    Schedule dental visits every six months. These check-ups allow your dentist to monitor the status of the crown and the surrounding teeth, keeping everything in good shape.
  4. Avoid hard foods:
    To prevent damaging the crown and surrounding teeth, be cautious with hard foods, ice, or hard candy. Similarly, avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages.
  5. Wear a mouthguard:
    If you grind your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard. This can protect your crowns and natural teeth from excessive wear.
  6. Limit staining foods and beverages:
    Coffee, tea, red wine, and certain fruits can stain your crowns. While porcelain crowns resist stains better than natural teeth, it’s wise to consume them in moderation and brush them afterwards.
  7. Avoid sticky foods:
    Sticky and chewy foods can pull at and weaken your crown. Be mindful of foods like caramel or chewing gum.
  8. Know your crown type:
    Various types of dental crowns require specific care. Knowledge of the durability and aesthetic features of your dental crown type can assist in customising your dental care routine.
  9. Respond to discomfort promptly:
    Don’t delay a dental visit if you experience discomfort or sensitivity in your crowned tooth. Early detection of issues can prevent more severe problems.

Caring for your dental crown involves a combination of dental hygiene practices, dietary considerations, and regular dental check-ups. By following these guidelines, you can help keep your crown and teeth healthy, functional, and visually appealing for years to come.

Final Thoughts

Dental crowns significantly boost oral health, providing protection and improving the appearance of damaged teeth. Reflecting on the cost is vital so that your choice fits within your budget and meets your expectations.

Choosing the right dental crown is possible with proper advice. It’s about opting for an option that looks natural and restores your tooth’s functionality, leading to a healthier and more attractive smile.

Karrinyup Dental Centre is ready to offer personalised guidance. Book a consultation with us today. Let’s help you learn more about what are dental crowns and which one matches your needs, improves your dental health and boosts your confidence.

Dr. Justin Soon


Dr. Justin Soon

Dr. Justin completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Western Australia. Dr Justin completed his surgical implant training under the mentorship of Dr. Glen Liddelow, Dr. Graham Carmichael, and Dr. Brent Allan at the Branemark Centre.

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