Dental Crowns 101: What You Need to Know For a Healthy Smile

Dental crowns, often called “caps,” play a crucial role in preserving and enhancing your oral health. These custom-made, tooth-shaped restorations cover damaged or decayed teeth, restoring both their appearance and functionality.

Whether you’re dealing with a cracked tooth, severe decay, or simply wish to improve the aesthetics of your smile, dental crowns are a versatile solution. However, this is a delicate procedure that must be conducted by a professional dentist. Contact us today for the best dental crown installation.

Materials Matter

Dental crowns can be crafted from various materials, including the following:

  • Porcelain crowns: Porcelain crowns are renowned for their remarkable resemblance to natural teeth. They capture the translucency and shade variations of real teeth, making them an excellent choice for front teeth where aesthetics are a top priority.
  • Porcelain fused to metal: These crowns combine the aesthetic benefits of porcelain with the strength of a metal substructure. This makes them a versatile choice for both front and back teeth. They offer durability while still maintaining an attractive appearance.
  • Zirconia crowns: Zirconia crowns have gained popularity due to their exceptional strength and durability. They are often used in posterior teeth and can withstand the rigors of biting and chewing. Zirconia crowns also offer a natural appearance, making them a versatile choice for those who need both strength and aesthetics.
  • All resin crowns: All-resin crowns are a more budget-friendly option. Therefore, most people go for them not because they are appealing but because of their affordability.
  • Metal crowns: While their metallic appearance may not be as visually appealing as other materials, their longevity makes them a practical choice for posterior teeth.

The Crown Procedure

Understanding the dental crown procedure is essential for a successful treatment. The process typically involves the following steps:

  • Consultation and Examination: Your dentist will begin with a thorough examination of the tooth in need of a crown. X-rays may be taken to assess the extent of damage or decay. During this initial visit, you’ll discuss material options and treatment plans.
  • Tooth Preparation: To accommodate the crown, your tooth will need to be reshaped. This involves removing a layer of enamel to create space for the crown. Local anesthesia is used to ensure you’re comfortable during this process.
  • Impressions: Once your tooth is prepared, your dentist will take impressions of your tooth and the surrounding area. These impressions are sent to a dental laboratory where your custom crown will be crafted.
  • Temporary Crown: While waiting for your permanent crown to be made, your dentist may place a temporary crown to protect your tooth. It’s essential to be cautious with temporary crowns, as they are not as sturdy as the permanent ones.
  • Crown Placement: When your permanent crown is ready, you’ll return to the dentist for its placement. Your dentist will ensure the crown fits perfectly, matches your natural teeth, and functions correctly. Once both you and your dentist are satisfied, the crown is cemented into place.
  • Final Adjustments: After placement, your dentist may make minor adjustments to ensure your bite is comfortable and natural.
  • Aftercare: Following the procedure, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure the longevity of your crown. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are key.

Advantages of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns offer numerous advantages, making them a popular choice for a variety of dental issues:

  • Enhanced Appearance: Crowns can improve the appearance of damaged or discolored teeth, providing a natural look.
  • Restored Functionality: They restore the functionality of teeth, allowing you to chew and speak comfortably.
  • Protection: Crowns act as protective barriers, preventing further damage to weakened teeth.
  • Durability: Depending on the material, crowns can last for many years, providing a long-term solution.
  • Stability: They help stabilize dental bridges and cover dental implants for a complete smile makeover.

When Are Dental Crowns Necessary?

Dental crowns are recommended for various dental issues, including:

  • Tooth Decay: When a tooth has extensive decay that cannot be fixed with a filling.
  • Cracked or Chipped Teeth: Similar to dental bonding, they can be used to prevent further damage and restore the tooth’s strength.
  • Root Canal Treatment: After a root canal, a crown is often placed to protect the weakened tooth.
  • Cosmetic Improvement: For enhancing the appearance of misshapen or discolored teeth.
  • Support for Dental Bridges: Crowns serve as anchors for dental bridges, filling gaps caused by missing teeth.
  • Tooth Fractures: In cases of severe fractures, a crown can salvage the remaining tooth structure.
  • Dental Implants: Crowns are used to cover and protect dental implants, providing a natural-looking replacement for missing teeth.

Choosing the Right Dentist for Your Crown Procedure

Selecting the right dentist is crucial for a successful crown procedure. Consider the following factors:

Experience: Look for a dentist with experience in crown placement and a good track record of successful procedures.

Communication: A dentist who takes the time to explain the procedure, answer your questions, and discuss material options is a valuable asset.

Technology: A dental practice equipped with modern technology, such as CAD/CAM systems, can offer more efficient and precise crown placement.

Patient Reviews: Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from friends and family can help you find a reputable dentist.

Cost and Insurance: Understand the cost of the procedure and check whether your dental insurance covers it.

Possible Complications and Risks

While dental crowns are generally safe and effective, there can be complications and risks to consider:

Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to certain crown materials. If you have metal allergies, discuss this with your dentist.

Tooth Sensitivity: It’s common to experience tooth sensitivity after a crown procedure. This usually subsides within a few weeks but can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Chipped Crown: Although crowns are durable, they can chip or crack if you apply excessive force, such as biting on hard objects. This is especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which stresses the jaw and mouth muscles. Please visit our sleep apnea clinic in Houston for treatment recommendations.

Gum Issues: Poorly fitting crowns can lead to gum irritation or inflammation. Regular check-ups can help address such issues promptly.


Your dental crown journey begins with understanding the procedure, choosing the right dentist, and selecting the most suitable material. Whether you’re looking to enhance the appearance of your smile, restore a damaged tooth, or ensure the longevity of your dental bridge or implant, crowns are a versatile solution. Contact us today for your dental crown installation.