The Ultimate Guide to Dental Crowns: Types, Benefits, and the Cap Process Explained

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Think of a situation when your dentist recommended you to get the crown. You’re right, after a root canal treatment.

Dental Crowns

When you’re done with root canal therapy, your tooth weakens overall. The coronal portion of the tooth has been excessively removed to get straight access to tooth root canals inside the root. 

As a significant coronal portion has been removed, the innate tendency to resist tooth fracture on biting has been lost. To approach this, the tooth is filled with filling material, and a dental crown or cap is recommended to restore the shape, size, strength, and appearance of the tooth.

If a crown is fabricated on the chairside, it is called a temporary crown. However, if your oral impressions and wax bite are taken and sent to the laboratory, then a permanent crown is fabricated with the material of your choice.

Sometimes, same-day permanent crowns are fabricated by using CAD.CAM technology, which you will learn about in the later part of this guide. 

We have prepared a complete guide for you on dental crowns so read on…

What Are Dental Crowns?

Definition and Purpose

Simply, a crown, commonly known as a cap, is a dental prosthesis that covers the coronal portion of a decayed, weakened, or worn-out tooth. If properly seated and cemented, it serves as a tooth seal, preventing bacteria and debris from leaching into the tooth, which, if leached, may lead to a tooth infection. 

It is a tooth-shaped alternative that fits the tooth exactly how your T-shirt fits you. Your dentist will remove a portion of the tooth to create space for the crown fabricated in a dental lab of your desired material.

A dental crown is needed on your existing tooth for several reasons. Firstly, it provides additional strength to your weakened tooth, prepared for other dental procedures like root canal treatment or crown preparation for a dental bridge. 

Secondly, it is a component of a dental bridge as it supports the pontic that goes in place of the missing tooth. Thirdly, crowns in the anterior region are placed to uplift the smile if veneers were not opted as a first-line option. Also, it covers the dental implant to make it function.

Types of Dental Crowns

There are so many types of crowns that you must choose according to your personal preferences and needs.

Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crown types vary from one another based on material, cost, aesthetics, strength, and durability. Each has pros and cons, and you must consider them before choosing it. Know 9 different types of crowns: 

9 Types Of Dental Crowns Reason For Popularity 
 1) MetalHigh strength 
2) All-porcelain crownsHighly esthetic 
3) Porcelain-fused to metalOffers high strength with better esthetics 
4) All-resin crownsThe most natural and cost-effective 
5) All-ceramic crowns Superior esthetics 
6) Pressed ceramic crowns Durability combined with better esthetics 
7) Gold crowns Massive strength 
8) E-max crowns Natural-looking crowns 
9) Milled crowns Same-day crown fabrication with CAD/CAm technology 

Benefits of Dental Crowns

…What if you have a cracked tooth and feel excruciating pain when biting?

…What if your tooth gets fractured when eating your favorite meat?

…What if your tooth has gone black after a root canal treatment, and you seek an alternative?

…What if you avoid eating from the tooth side after you recently had a root canal treatment?

For all these problems, you need a crown.

Getting a dental crown comes with a lot of benefits, and here are these: 

Restoring Tooth Functionality

A tooth is supposed to occlude with the teeth in the opposite arch to allow you to chew your food properly. It also allows you to speak accurately as your tongue touches different tooth surfaces to produce sounds. If your tooth is damaged for any reason, you may need a dental crown to restore functionality. 

Improving Tooth Appearance

A decayed or traumatized tooth often develops discoloration.

Improving Tooth Appearance

If scaling and internal bleaching alone are insufficient to remove the discoloration, your dentist may recommend a crown. 

Longevity and Durability

Dental crown treatment improves patient satisfaction by offering a long-term solution to their problems. A dental crown may stay functional for five to fifteen years and is the most reasonable alternative to other tooth restorations like inlays and onlays. 

The Dental Crown Process Explained

Initial Consultation: 

The process of tooth-shaped crown fabrication initiates with an initial consultation, during which your dentist evaluates the teeth that need a crown. He will also check your tooth mobility, tooth health, and bite appearance.

He might take an X-ray to get in-depth details about the tooth’s health before recommending a crown. He will also suggest alternatives if they deem fit in the situation.

Tooth Preparation:

Once you’re sure you want a dental crown, your tooth will be prepared to accept it. Your dentist will first numb your tooth with a local anesthetic agent to ensure you stay comfortable throughout the procedure.

Next, he’ll use a combination of burs to cut all the tooth surfaces to create the space for the crown. He may use filling material to pre-build the tooth if it’s excessively destroyed or worn out.

Impressions and Temporary Crown:

Next, your dentist will take your oral impressions to record your prepared tooth anatomy and the surrounding area. It will allow the dental laboratory to fabricate a custom-made crown that exactly fits your tooth.

Impressions and Temporary Crown

The permanent crown fabrication may take a few days to make. In the meantime, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to save you from sensitivity and pain when you leave the dental office. Temporary crowns are fabricated chair-side with a few materials present at a dental office.

Placement of Permanent Crown:

Once the permanent crown is ready, you’ll be called to get it fixed. Your dentist will initially remove your temporary crown and cement the permanent one on your tooth. He’ll adjust the crown by asking you to bite on a bite paper.

This ensures you have an optimum occlusion that will help you function properly.

Know Different Types of Dental Crowns

Dentistry is advancing daily, so you have multiple options to restore your damaged teeth with a crown. Here are 9 of them. Make sure you know the pros and cons of each crown type before moving forward with one. 

1) Metal:

Metals are excellent materials in terms of strength and durability. As per the literature, these are the ideal crown material for restoring posterior teeth. Metals like gold, nickel, palladium, chromium, and certain other alloys are used to make the crown. Although this material is not aesthetically pleasing, it demands less tooth reduction during the tooth preparation. It means you’ll experience less post-operative sensitivity, and most of your tooth structure is safe, adhering to the principles of conservative dentistry. 

Pros: 

  • Withstand excessive chewing and biting forces
  • It lasts longer when compared to other crown materials. 
  • Foster less tooth reduction. 

Cons:

  • Not aesthetically pleasing. 
  • May initiate allergic reactions.

2) Porcelain Crowns

All porcelain or ceramic crowns mimic the tooth enamel, giving the most natural tooth appearance.

If you’re allergic to metal, you must opt for this. Ceramic crowns are usually made of different materials, but zirconium dioxide is the most popular choice.

Porcelain Crowns

Zirconia crowns are highly durable, biocompatible, and can withstand temperature changes within the mouth. 

Pros: 

  • Highly esthetic in nature
  • Biocompatible material
  • Withstand temperature changes

Cons:

  • Durability is lesser than metal crowns
  • Are expensive crown option

3) Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns 

PFM crowns combine all-porcelain and all-metal crowns. The hybrid nature of the new crown gives it superior aesthetics and strength. Many Americans choose this crown, which is constructed so that porcelain faces the facial surface to cover aesthetic needs while metal makes the rest of the crown’s boundaries to introduce strength. 

Pros:

  • Natural-looking metallic crown.
  • Affordable when compared to all-porcelain crowns
  • Excellent strength 

Cons:

  • Porcelain wears opposite teeth
  • A metallic margin is sometimes seen, which looks bad in anterior teeth.

4) All Resin Crowns 

Resin crowns are the best option if you’re seeking the most affordable crown options. These are made of resin material, also known as composite, which offers greater aesthetics but less durability. They are usually constructed chair-side and won’t require you to wait for days until your crown is fabricated by a laboratory and sent back to the clinic. 

Pros:

  • More affordable
  • Highly aesthetic
  • It doesn’t require invasive tooth preparation.

Cons:

  • Brittle
  • Undergies discolouration
  • Can wear off with time

5) All Ceramic Crowns 

If you love precision and want your dental crown to exactly replicate your natural teeth, considering even the minor contours, then this one is for you.

All Ceramic Crowns

Superior esthetics with superior strength are what are called all-ceramic crowns. Due to their complex fabrication process, these take longer to fabricate in the laboratory. They also demand excessive tooth reduction to reproduce a natural-like appearance. 

Pros:

  • Highly aesthetic and durable
  • Replicates contours well.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Takes longer fabrication time
  • Demands more tooth reduction

6) Pressed Ceramic Crowns 

Flawless correction of the anterior aesthetic defect is possible with pressed ceramic crowns. These crowns are stronger in their core and offer a durable solution for restoration. It provides reflection for light exactly the way the natural teeth do. 

Pros:

  • Highly aesthetic
  • Increased durability

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Brittle

7) Gold Crowns

One of the most durable materials is gold, so gold crowns are among the most popular metallic crowns used.

Gold Crowns

Like metallic crowns, gold crowns require minimal tooth reduction to custom fit the tooth. 

Pros: 

  • Durable
  • Less tooth removal 

Cons:

  • Non esthetic
  • Expensive

8) Emax Crowns 

This one is for you if you’re looking for contemporary crown options with high esthetic appeal and translucency. It is considered better than zirconium crowns as it is more durable. It is less prone to chipping but expensive compared to other options. It’s a type of all-ceramic crown constructed with lithium-desilicate ceramic. 

Pros:

  • Highly durable
  • Best esthetics
  • Less prone to chipping

Cons: 

  • Expensive

9) Milled Crowns 

CAD/CAM crowns are crafted using computer technology, giving a precise fit. They are fabricated in a single visit after your dentist captures your digital impressions. 

Pros:

  • Single visit treatment
  • Promotes digital dentistry
  • Cost-effective 

Cons

  • None

Choosing the Right Dental Crown for You

Factors to Consider:

When choosing the dental crown for yourself, you pay attention to certain factors:

1) Material: 

Out of so many materials that have been discussed above with pros and cons, you may select any. Carefully consider the key aspects of each, or you may ask your dentist for a suggestion. 

2) Location of the tooth: 


Your anterior teeth demand a dental crown with superior esthetics like E-max and zirconia, while your posterior teeth demand a crown with superior strength like metals and poreclain-fused-to-metal crowns. Your crown choice must depend on the location of your tooth that needs restoration

3) Allergies or sensitivities: 


If you’re allergic to certain elements, like metals, you must inform your dentist beforehand. Then, you’ll only be provided with options that are free from allergic materials.

4) Aesthetics:

If you value esthetics, you may opt for a crown product that closely mimics your natural teeth. However, if your requirements are not that high, you may opt for a crown with combined properties like esthetics and strength.

Consultation with Your Dentist

Your dentist will guide you in the best possible way, considering your needs and expectations. Once you have decided on which dental crown to wear, you may confirm with your dentist about it. This will also make you more confident about your choices.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

One of the major factors that plays a pivotal role in deciding your dental care is the cost.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of dental crowns may vary from material to material and dentist’s expertise and location.

Getting good financing options or dental coverage will help you cover the costs. Some insurance coverages only provide insurance on a few crown materials and procedures. You must thoroughly understand your insurance plans to know the limitations, exclusions, and copayments associated with dental crown procedures. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped prosthesis that could last up to 15 years with proper dental care. To last a long time, you must pay special attention to crown care, which is achievable by maintaining adequate oral hygiene through brushing and flossing.

Professional scaling and polishing are also advisable to clean the independently hard-to-reach areas with self-cleaning aids.

Can Dental Crowns Stain?

Dental crowns may stain depending on the material of the crown and your oral habits. Like all resin crowns, certain crowns are purely made of composite and would undergo staining over time.

However, porcelain is relatively stain resistant but may catch stains over massive tea, coffee, tobacco, cigarettes, and more consumption.

Are Dental Crowns Painful?

After the procedure, you may experience a little discomfort because your tooth has been prepared to receive the crown. If you’re not provided with a a temporary crown,, you may experience sensitivity. However, your dentist will numb your tooth before preparing it, so you will have no discomfort during the procedure.

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