All About Dental Crowns

 

What are they?

 

A crown can also be described as a "cap" for the tooth. Basically, the tooth is shaved down circumferentially as well as on the chewing surface of the tooth. This creates space for a "cap" to sit on top of the shaved down tooth, which is called a "crown preparation."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The middle tooth is the "crown preparation."

Purpose

The main purpose of a crown is to prevent the fracturing of a natural tooth. For example, a tooth that receives a root canal will have a large hole in the center of it (access opening) to allow the dentist to perform the root canal. Having a large hole in the tooth would increase the likelihood that the tooth will fracture and require extraction. The same principle applies to a tooth that has had a very large filling.

Risks

 

- Death of the tooth: This is a risk of any dental procedure that requires the use of a dental drill. Anytime the tooth is traumatized in any way, there is a risk that the nerve of the tooth will die. When a tooth dies, a root canal is necessary to save it.

 

- Sensitivity: As with the above, any time a tooth is traumatized in any way, there could always be post operative sensitivity. Also, a crown preparation removes enamel and leaves dentin exposed until the final crown is cemented. Dentin is more sensitive than enamel so hot/cold foods may be more bothersome until the final crown is placed.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of a crown is extremely difficult to predict and depends on many variables. A crown can last anywhere from a year (many dentists would redo this at no cost) to 50 years!

Cost

This can vary from dentist to dentist, but generally the cost ranges between $800 - $1200 per crown.