All About Dental Crowns and Caps

Dr. Ira Goldberg, a dentist in Succasunna, NJ, wrote an article for a local publication discussing dental crowns, their uses, the procedure, and the expected results. The article uses a question-and-answer format and is included below. Get your dental crown queries answered with expertise from Dr. Goldberg at Morris County Dental Associates.

dental crowns and caps benefits in Succasunna New Jersey

Dental Crowns Q & A

What is a crown or cap?

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases a tooth, restoring it to its original shape and size. It can be made from many different materials, such as porcelain, zirconia, metal, or a combination.

Why is a crown or cap necessary?

The primary reason for a crown is to restore a broken-down tooth. Sometimes a filling just won’t get the job done correctly. When more than 50% to 75% of the tooth is damaged, a crown is indicated, rather than a filling.

Are there other reasons for crowns?

Yes. These include cosmetics, preventative measures to keep teeth from fracturing, and restoring a person’s mouth when there has been severe damage, such as grinding or an accident.

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires one or two appointments. Your first appointment will include shaping of the tooth, an impression (mold), and a temporary crown. Your impression will be sent to a laboratory for 2 to 3 weeks. At your second appointment, the temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate. Some offices can make crowns in one appointment: they can manufacturer it “while you wait” using in-office milling machines.

How long will my crown last?

On average, crowns will last 7 to 10 years. There are many variables, such as (but not limited to):

  • strength of a person’s bite
  • susceptibility to decay
  • condition of the tooth being crowned
  • presence of gum disease
  • amount of clenching & grinding, as well as usage of a night guard
  • how many other teeth are present, as well as the condition of those teeth, to distribute biting forces
  • chewing habits (hard vs soft foods, chewing of non-food items such as pencils and tearing bags)

Are crowns permanent? Do they require maintenance? Can they go bad?

Crowns are permanent in the sense that they are cemented onto teeth, and not removed on a regular basis. However, problems can develop. A common problem is the formation of a cavity (decay) underneath the crown. This is typically from not brushing and flossing, and not going for regular dental checkups. If the cavity becomes too severe, the crown may have to be removed and remade.

Another situation that can develop is the need for a root canal. If the nerve of a tooth dies, an infection may develop that requires the need for the root canal. In this case, a hole will be made through the crown, the root canal performed, and then re-sealed.

Tell me about implant crowns.

Crowns are not always placed onto teeth; sometimes they are placed onto implants. The process is very similar: an impression is taken and then the crown is either cemented or screwed onto the implant. Unlike natural teeth, you do not have to worry about decay around implants. However, without proper hygiene and follow-up care, you can develop a situation called “peri-implantitis” which can cause loss of the implant.

I want a cosmetic makeover. Are the crowns different in this case? Are the fees different?

Yes. When a person undergoes extensive cosmetic treatment, there is a lot of preparation work that is unnecessary for just one or two crowns. Also, certain laboratories must be utilized to get the job done correctly. For both of these reasons, you should expect the cost per tooth will be higher than that of a single crown. You may also require a set of temporary crowns before your final crowns are made: this is to ensure you are satisfied with their look, as well as fit comfortably, before the final crowns are made. However, the results can be very rewarding!

What is a veneer?

A veneer is a very thin shell of porcelain or zirconia that fits over your tooth to improve color and shape of teeth. Instead of covering the entire tooth like a crown, it covers only the front and the biting edge. They are also much thinner than crowns, so they are more conservative. If you are considering a cosmetic makeover, don’t worry about whether you need a crown or veneer: let your dentist decide. The fee for either one is usually the same.

Learn More About Dental Crowns in Succasunna, NJ

Dr. Goldberg is a general dentist and dental implant expert located at the Roxbury Mall in Succasunna, NJ. He provides general dentistry for the entire family, including cleanings, check-ups, cosmetics, whitening, veneers, crowns, root canals, dentures, periodontal (gum) services, dental implants, and much more. To schedule an appointment with us, you can contact the office online or reach us by phone at 973.298.5893.