What is a Dental Crown?


A dental crown is one of our more common procedures to restore a tooth that needs more than just a filling. The purpose of a crown is to hold a tooth together and prevent it from breaking. This is needed when you either have a large cavity, a large filling, or a large part of the tooth is missing due to breakage. When there is not enough tooth to hold a filling, then you need to cover it with a crown to hold it all together. Think of a dental crown as a new outside layer for the tooth. It is cemented over your existing tooth to give it back its shape and strength.


What is the procedure?


The dental crown procedure involves removing a set amount of tooth structure from the top and sides of the tooth. We are creating a shape that lets us slide the crown over the existing tooth. Once your tooth has been appropriately shaped, we will then take an impression of that prepared tooth. This impression, or mold, of your tooth, is what the lab will use to fabricate your new crown. We will then make you a temporary crown to wear until we receive your permanent crown from our lab. Once your crown is back, we take off the temporary, make any adjustments to your new crown to make sure it fits properly, then permanently cement it on.


Types of Dental Crowns


While all dental crowns serve the same purpose, there are a few different types of materials they can be made of. Each one has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The main types of crowns used today are Full Zirconia, Veneered Zirconia, Lithium Disilicate, and Porcelain Fused to Metal.


Full Zirconia (BruxZir)

Full Zirconia is an all Ceramic/Metal free crown. It is currently one of the strongest crown materials we have and is mostly used on back molars and back tooth bridges. It only needs a minimal amount of tooth to be removed and its esthetics are good, but there are better-looking options.


Lithium Disilicate (Emax)

This is another all Ceramic/Metal free crown. It has very good strength but is not as resilient as full Zirconia restorations. It is used for premolars and front teeth and short bridges in the front. It has very good esthetics.


Layered Restorations

Another type of all Ceramic/Metal free crown. The inner core is either Emax or Zirconia with traditional feldspathic porcelain layered on the outside. This gives you excellent esthetics for difficult to match front teeth. Strength is good due to its core material, but the esthetic layer of traditional porcelain has a higher chance of chipping or breaking, especially along the edge of front teeth.


Porcelain fused to metal

This type of dental crown has a metal core with a traditional feldspathic porcelain outer layer. This type of dental crown has been used for decades in dentistry. It has good strength with good esthetics and is best for long bridges due to the strength of its metalcore. Its largest downfall is the gum recession. If you experience any gum recession the metal layer will become visible. When this metal layer starts to show it causes a visible gray line along the gums. Another problem is the traditional porcelain layer can chip allowing that grey metal to show through.


Dental Crown Cost

The question of how much does a dental crown cost can vary depending on your insurance coverage. If you have insurance, your out-of-pocket cost can range anywhere from about $600 to $800 depending on your particular plan. Without insurance, the cost of a crown can range anywhere from $1000 to $1800. At Bellingham Family Dentistry we take most major PPO insurances and have an in-house discount plan to help those without insurance.