Dental Crowns FAQs

Dental crowns are often used to help restore smiles. In fact, the single crown is the most common restorative procedure.  If your dentist has recommended a dental crown, you may have a few questions about exactly what that is. We’re here to answer them for you. Take a look below at the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about dental crowns.


What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a prosthetic tooth. Dental crowns are used to restore the appearance, shape, and alignment of damaged teeth and to replace missing teeth. In some cases, the dental crown is placed like a cap over the top of a tooth in order to strengthen it. In other cases, the dental crown is placed on top of a dental implant, which acts as the tooth root to replace a missing tooth. 


What are dental crowns made of?

Dental crowns can be made of a number of different types of materials. Typically, the options include porcelain, resin, or metal.  Some dental crowns use a combination of materials, such as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. Each material has its advantages, such as affordability, durability, aesthetics and biocompatibility. Your dentist can help you choose the best dental crown to suit your budget, needs, and preferences. 


When are dental crowns used?

Dentists used dental crowns for patients with a range of different dental issues, including:

  • Damaged tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Broken tooth
  • Decayed tooth
  • Misshapen tooth
  • Weak tooth
  • Worn enamel

Dental crowns are often used in combination with root canal treatments and dental implant procedures. They’re also used to attach dental bridges, fix discolored teeth, and replace a filling on a tooth that doesn’t have much body left. 


How do you care for dental crowns?

Dental crowns are similar to your natural teeth, and they require the same type of care.  Daily brushing and flossing are crucial, just like with your natural teeth. And although they’re durable, they can still be damaged, so to make them last as long as possible, you’ll want to follow a few simple tips:

  • Avoid chewing on ice, hard candy, or sticky chewy foods
  • Avoid chewing on pencils and pen caps
  • Avoid opening packages with your teeth
  • Use a night guard if you’re a tooth grinder or tooth clencher


Here’s a secret: if you ask your dentist, we’re pretty sure you’ll discover that these same rules would apply to your natural teeth as well. 

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    How long do dental crowns last?

    Dental crowns can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years or longer, depending on several factors, including:

    • The material—metals usually last longer
    • Placement of the crown—front crowns don’t last quite as long as crowns in the back of the mouth 
    • Your habits—such as chewing ice, chewing pens, etc
    • Proper oral hygiene—taking care of your teeth and gums will help go a long way toward getting maximum mileage from your dental crown

    Are there any alternatives to dental crowns?

    There are some alternatives to dental crowns, though they won’t be appropriate or effective in all cases.  In certain cases, dental onlays, veneers, and tooth extractions can be used in place of dental crowns, but each has its disadvantages over crowns. Your dentist can help give you a clear idea of which alternatives might work for your particular dental concerns.  

    Need a dental crown? University Dental can help!

    If you are in need of a dental crown, or think you might be, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll do a full evaluation, explain your options, and answer any questions you may have.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at (619) 582-4224 today.