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What Is a Dental Crown and Do You Really Need One?

by Jun 25, 2024Procedures

What Is a Dental Crown and Do You Really Need One?

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Procedures

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a custom-made covering that fits over a prepared natural tooth or dental implant. It serves to protect and strengthen a tooth that has been weakened by decay, fracture, large fillings, or root canal treatment. Crowns are typically made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination of these materials. The choice of material depends on factors such as the location of the tooth, the patient’s preference, and the functional and aesthetic requirements.

Do I really need a crown?

Maybe! A crown is a great option for tooth support/strength but can often be too aggressive if the tooth is still in good condition. Unfortunately, it’s common to hear of dental practices that treat too aggressively by placing crowns on teeth that might not need them. Many corporate dental offices praise the dentists that complete the most crowns. It’s recommended to avoid payment models (fee-for-service) that incentivize volume or higher-dollar procedures such as crowns. A direct care membership model completely avoids these incentives and helps develop trust with your dental provider.

Reasons for Needing a Dental Crown

1. Protection: A crown provides a protective cover for a tooth that is weak or at risk of breaking.

2. Restoration: It restores a tooth that has been severely decayed, cracked, or worn down to its original shape and size.

3. Support. Crowns are used to support large fillings when there isn’t enough tooth structure remaining.

4. Cosmetic Enhancement: They can improve the appearance of misshapen or discolored teeth, enhancing the overall smile.

Types of Dental Crowns

1. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM): These crowns are not done very often anymore because they can irritate the gums, and show dark lines around the base of the tooth

2. All-ceramic or all-porcelain: These crowns provide the best aesthetic results because they closely resemble natural teeth in color and translucency. They are ideal for front teeth and patients concerned about aesthetics. These are what is most commonly done these days. Options include: eMax (more esthetic) and zirconia (more durable).

3. Metal crowns (gold or other alloys: These crowns are known for their strength and durability, making them suitable for molars or teeth that undergo heavy chewing forces. These are not done as often anymore because of their high cost or non-esthetic appearance.

The Dental Crown Procedure

1. Initial Consultation: Your dentist will examine your tooth and discuss the need for a crown. X-rays may be taken to assess the extent of damage or decay.

2. Tooth Preparation: The tooth receiving the crown is prepared by removing a layer of enamel to create space for the crown. If the tooth is severely damaged, additional material may be added to build it up.

3. Impression: An impression or mold of the prepared tooth is taken. Modern dentistry uses digital scanning instead of molds. This mold or scan is sent to a dental laboratory where the crown is custom-made to fit your tooth precisely. Sometimes the crown can be developed in a in-house lab!

4. Temporary Crown: While waiting for the permanent crown to be fabricated (usually 1-2 weeks), a temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth. Sometimes the final crown can be fabricated same-day in the office and allows you to avoid a temporary crown.

5. Crown Placement: Once the permanent crown is ready, it is checked for fit, color, and bite. It is then cemented into place over the prepared tooth.

6. Post-Procedure Care: Your dentist will provide instructions on caring for your new crown, including proper oral hygiene practices and any precautions to take.

How much does a crown cost?

A dental crown cost can vary on a number of factors, such as the dental office, dental insurance, and the amount of damage to a tooth. The cost can range up to $2,000 per tooth in a traditional dental office. In a Rising Dental practice, members only have to pay the lab or material fee for crowns! Today, that material fee is $275. Members pay $0 for the crown build-up if needed.


Dental crowns play a vital role in restoring and preserving oral health. Whether you need a crown for functional reasons or cosmetic enhancement, understanding the process and types of crowns available can help you make informed decisions about your dental care. If you believe you may benefit from a dental crown, consult your dentist to discuss your options and determine the best course of treatment for your oral health needs. Remember, investing in your dental health today can lead to less.

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