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Dental Crowns

When working on a patient’s mouth, a dentist might find that one or more teeth are in need of restorative work. If this work is needed to correct the appearance, strength, size or shape of the tooth, he or she may recommend a crown be used. The crown serves as a cap which is shaped like a tooth and is positioned over the natural tooth. Once the crown has been cemented in place, it completely encases the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. Patients often wonder if and when a dental crown is needed and what the benefits are of selecting this treatment option.

When Are Dental Crowns Called For?

Dentists recommend crowns when a patient has a tooth that has weakened as a result of decay or when the tooth has cracked and needs to be held together. Teeth that have worn down over time and those that are broken can benefit from the use of a crown, and dentists use crowns to cover dental implants or hold a bridge in the correct location. Cosmetic modifications often involve the use of crowns, and a crown may be employed to cover a tooth that is severely discolored or one that is misshapen and won’t benefit from the use of veneers. The dentist determines when this treatment option is the best solution for a patient’s needs.

The Use Of Crowns In Children

Children sometimes need crowns on baby or primary teeth in a variety of situations. When a tooth has been damaged by decay and has reached the point that it can no longer support a standard filling, a crown can be of help. The same is true when a child has issues with daily oral hygiene, and the dentist is concerned one or more teeth are at great risk of decay. Children with behavioral or medical issues that may interfere with their ability to properly care for their teeth may also be provided with crowns to help decrease the need for regular use of general anesthesia to care for their teeth. As these teeth aren’t permanent, the dentist often opts to use stainless steel crowns, as opposed to porcelain ones. This will be determined by the dentist and the parent.

Dental Crown Options

Patients find they have numerous options when it comes to dental crowns. Stainless steel is one option and is often used for a temporary crown or for the primary teeth of children. Metal crowns, such as those made from alloys, require less of the natural tooth be removed for placement of the crown and are extremely durable. Porcelain crowns that are fused to metal can be matched to adjacent teeth in terms of the shade, yet these crowns may chip or break. In addition, the metal used in the crown may show with time.

Other options include all-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns, all-resin crowns and milled or Zirconia crowns. Many patients opt for the ceramic or porcelain crowns, as they appear the most natural. In addition, individuals allergic to metal need to choose this option, but they aren’t as strong as their porcelain-fused-to-metal counterparts, and they tend to wear the opposing teeth more. The all-resin versions are cost-effective, yet are prone to wear and fractures. Zirconia or milled crowns require no impressions be made and can allow the crown to be produced immediately, eliminating the need for a temporary crown.

How A Crown Is Placed

Typically, two appointments are needed for a crown. The first visit involves the preparation of the tooth for the crown. The dentist numbs the tooth and files it down to make space for a crown or builds it up if the tooth has significant decay. An impression of the tooth is made to ensure the patient’s bite won’t be impacted. This impression is then sent to the dental lab for the crown to be made, and a temporary crown is installed until the permanent crown is ready.

During the second visit, the permanent crown is checked to ensure it is the proper shape, size and color. Once this has been done, the dentist may numb the patient to ensure there is no discomfort. After this has been done, the new crown will be installed and permanently placed with special cement.

The Life Span Of A Crown

Crowns generally last approximately five to 15 years. This depends on wear and tear on the crown, oral hygiene and more. Individuals must remember that the tooth is still prone to decay, thus brushing and flossing remain of great importance. In addition, grinding of the teeth, biting fingernails and chewing ice can all impact the lifespan of the crown.

Only a dentist can determine when a crown is the optimal solution. He or she takes numerous factors into consideration when making this decision, as other treatment options are available. If you have one or more teeth you feel may benefit from a crown, call us today. We’ll be happy to exam your teeth and gums and make recommendations based on our findings. We want to help you achieve your goals when it comes to your smile and oral health and will work with you to discover the treatment options that make the most sense for you.

If you have any questions regarding crown services at our Washington D.C. office or have any questions regarding our many other dental services, call the Washington Center for Cosmetic Dentistry at (202) 873-1341 or send us your name and email address via our website to schedule an appointment. You can also visit our dental services page to learn more about our full scope of services provided.

Our Happy Patients

"My favorite dentist. Dr. Brown is hands down my favorite dentist. Highly skilled, fantastic bedside (chair side?) manner and a great team of skilled techs. Dr. Brown thoroughly explains proposed treatment, and keeps you informed the entire way. Her husband, Dr. Polowitz, is also great. Our whole family sees them."

Bill S.

"Dr. Brown and Pollowitz are highly skilled dentists, very talented artists, and have the best bedside or should I say "chair side" manner I have ever experienced. I trust them completely and have been seeing Dr. Brown and Pollowitz for almost 20 years now. When I lived out of town for two years, the dentist I saw there was amazed at the skill and perfection of the veneer and implant Dr Brown did and got the whole staff to come look at my mouth! I had an accident when I was a kid and have had lots of problems with my teeth ever since, and that includes many unpleasant experiences, but their kindness has given me a renewed respect and love for dentistry. It means a lot that Dr Brown will call me and find out if I am OK after a crown or something painful. She knows I am sensitive and takes time to take extra good care. Love them both."

Jenny L.

"As always my experience was top notch for a dental appointment. Dr Pollowitz explained the details of what he was going to do as he worked. It was an appointment to both replace a filling and to take care of the cavity on the outside of that filling. He proceeded slowly and there was never any feel of him rushing to get to the next patient. And Sylvia was very professional as always. Rate this office as a 5 star!"

Joan M.
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