Medically reviewed by Dr. Amir Guorgui

Dental Crowns: What Are They and How Do They Work?

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Dental health is a vital aspect of our overall well-being, and understanding dental crowns is crucial in ensuring the longevity and functionality of our teeth.

Dental crowns play a pivotal role in modern dentistry, offering a versatile solution for various dental issues. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what dental crowns are, the different types of materials used in their construction, the placement process, when they are necessary, how they work, aftercare and maintenance, their role in cosmetic dentistry, and how to choose the right crown.

Dental Crowns Explained

What are dental crowns, and why are they essential in dentistry?

Dental crowns, often referred to as "tooth crowns" or simply "crowns," are protective caps that cover a damaged or weakened tooth. They serve various essential functions, including protection, restoration, and enhancement of teeth.

  • Protection: Dental crowns act as shields for compromised teeth, preventing further damage or decay. When a tooth is severely decayed or fractured, a crown can salvage the remaining healthy portion, ensuring its long-term functionality.
  • Restoration: Crowns are used to restore the appearance and function of a tooth that has undergone extensive dental work, such as root canals. They help maintain the tooth's strength and structure, allowing it to function like a natural tooth.
  • Enhancement: In cosmetic dentistry, dental crowns play a significant role in improving the aesthetics of teeth. They can be used to cover discoloured, misshapen, or poorly aligned teeth, resulting in a more pleasing and uniform smile.


Types of Dental Crown Materials

Dental crowns are available in various materials, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Understanding the different types of crowns can help you make an informed decision about your dental treatment.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are popular for their natural appearance, and are often used for front teeth. They closely mimic the colour and translucency of natural teeth, making them an excellent choice for cosmetic dental work.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns, typically made of gold or other alloys, are exceptionally durable and can withstand significant biting forces. They are often used for molars and back teeth that require extra strength.

Ceramic Crowns

Ceramic crowns combine the strength of metal crowns with the aesthetic benefits of porcelain crowns. They are a versatile option suitable for both front and back teeth.

Composite Crowns

Composite crowns are made from a mixture of resin and other materials. They are less expensive than other types of crowns, but may not be as durable and long-lasting.

The Dental Crown Placement Process

Understanding the dental crown placement process is essential for anyone considering this procedure.

Tooth Examination and Consultation

The process begins with a thorough examination of the affected tooth. Your dentist will discuss your options and conduct a tooth crown consultation to determine the most suitable type of crown for your specific needs.


Before the tooth preparation begins, the area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to ensure a painless procedure.

Tooth Preparation

To accommodate the crown, the damaged or decayed portion of the tooth is carefully removed. The tooth is then reshaped to create a secure foundation for the crown.


An impression of the prepared tooth is taken to create a custom-fitted crown that matches the shape and size of your natural teeth.

Temporary Crown

While the permanent crown is being fabricated, a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it.

Crown Fabrication

The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where skilled technicians craft your permanent crown using the chosen material.

Final Placement

Once the permanent crown is ready, you return to the dentist for its placement. The temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth, ensuring a snug fit.

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When Are Dental Crowns Necessary?

Dental crowns are recommended in various scenarios to address different dental conditions and issues effectively.

  • Decay: Severe tooth decay that cannot be resolved with a simple filling often requires a crown to restore the tooth's structure and prevent further damage.
  • Fractures: When a tooth is cracked or fractured, a crown can hold the pieces together, preventing further breakage and maintaining functionality.
  • Cosmetic Improvements: Dental crowns are widely used in cosmetic dentistry to enhance the appearance of teeth affected by discoloration, misalignment, or other aesthetic concerns.
  • Root Canal Treatment: After a root canal procedure, a crown is often placed on the treated tooth to protect it and restore its function.

How Dental Crowns Work

Understanding the mechanics of dental crowns can help you appreciate their role in preserving and improving dental health.

  • Protection: Dental crowns act as a barrier, shielding the underlying tooth from further damage caused by decay or trauma. They effectively seal the tooth, preventing bacteria from infiltrating and causing infection.
  • Restoration: Crowns restore a tooth's functionality by providing a strong and stable biting surface. This allows you to chew and speak comfortably, just as you would with a natural tooth.

Dental Crown Aftercare and Maintenance

How long do crowns last? Proper aftercare and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the longevity of dental crowns.

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, to prevent plaque buildup and gum disease around the crown.
  • Diet: Avoid chewing on hard objects or excessively sticky foods to prevent damage to the crown. Additionally, minimize consumption of sugary foods and drinks to protect against decay.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups to monitor the condition of your crown and address any issues promptly.

Cosmetic Dental Crowns

In cosmetic dentistry, dental crowns play a significant role in transforming smiles and improving the aesthetics of teeth.

  • Smile Makeovers: Dental crowns are a key component of smile makeovers. They can address a range of cosmetic concerns, such as teeth discoloration, misalignment, and irregular shapes, to create a stunning, harmonious smile.
  • Improving Aesthetics: Whether you have a single discoloured tooth or multiple cosmetic issues, dental crowns offer a versatile solution to enhance the appearance of your teeth and boost your confidence.

Consultation and Choosing the Right Crown

When considering the option of a dental crown procedure, it's crucial to seek advice from a dental professional who can navigate you through the procedure and assist in selecting the most appropriate crown for your requirements.

  • Initial Dental Discussion: In your first meeting, your dental practitioner will assess your dental health, address your queries and treatment objectives, and suggest the most fitting kind of crown tailored to your unique needs.
  • Aspects to Consider: Aspects to bear in mind when deciding on a crown comprise of its longevity, appearance, and dental crown cost. Your dental professional will let you know the advantages and disadvantages of each material, aiding you in making a well-informed choice.

Dental Crowns at Mapleridge Dentistry

At Mapleridge Dentistry, we understand the importance of dental crowns in preserving and enhancing your dental health. Our experienced team of dental professionals is committed to providing high-quality tooth crown treatment tailored to your unique needs.

  • Expert Care: Our skilled dentists have a wealth of experience in dental crown procedures and will ensure you receive top-notch care.
  • Customized Solutions: We offer a range of crown materials to suit your preferences and needs, from porcelain crowns to metal crown tooth options.
  • Comprehensive Support: From your initial tooth crown consultation to post-procedure care, we are dedicated to your dental well-being every step of the way.

All in all, understanding what dental crowns are, how they work, and their various applications is essential for maintaining good oral health and addressing dental issues effectively. Whether you need a broken tooth crown, a cosmetic enhancement, or any other dental concern, dental crowns can provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution.

By choosing the right crown for tooth material and following proper aftercare, you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come. If you're considering getting a crown on tooth issues, consult with us at Mapleridge Dentistry for expert guidance and exceptional care.

Andrea Galick

Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.