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Dental Crowns

Treatment Overview

A crown (often called a cap) fits over and replaces the entire part of a decayed tooth above the gum line. It encases the tooth and becomes the tooth's new outer surface.

You may need two or more visits to your dentist to repair a tooth with a crown.

Crowns may be made of porcelain or a metal base covered with a thin layer of ceramic that matches your teeth and looks like a normal, healthy tooth. Crowns for the teeth in the back of the mouth may be made of gold.

During your first visit, your dentist will get your tooth ready for a crown. They'll also make an impression of your teeth to create a mould used for making the crown. The crown may be temporary at first. In this case, you will need another visit.

What To Expect

Your lips and gums may stay numb (frozen) for a few hours until the anesthetic wears off. To avoid injuring your mouth, be careful not to chew on your numb lip or cheek.

Why It Is Done

A crown is used to:

  • Treat teeth that have broken or decayed so much that your dentist cannot fix them with a filling.
  • Improve how a tooth looks.
  • Seal the tooth and prevent it from breaking after a root canal treatment.
  • Improve the function of your mouth and bite.

How Well It Works

A crown will work just like a healthy tooth. Teeth with crowns can decay at the gum-line, come loose, or wear out over time. So you may need to get a crown cemented again or replaced.

Risks

A dental crown is a common procedure. You will usually need more than 1 dental appointment. Depending on the condition of your tooth and where it is in your mouth, you may need a root canal before or after the procedure. The dentist will explain what procedures and in what order you’ll need them before any are started. This is a good time to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Credits

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.