What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown (also referred to as a cap) is a cemented covering that fits over a decayed, damaged, or cracked tooth. Because of its full coverage, dental crowns will be recommended when your damaged tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line, is likely to fracture due to the size of the existing restoration or has had root canal therapy.

Whenever possible, a dental onlay will be recommended to perform the same protective and restorative features as a dental crown. Onlays allow more of your natural tooth to be preserved.

Crowns and onlays are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold alloys, acrylic resin, zirconia or a mix of these materials. Porcelain gives the dental crown or onlay the most natural appearance, allowing it to better blend in with the rest of your teeth but it is the weakest. A newer material, zirconia, can be used by itself since it is quite fracture resistant yet is esthetically shaded like a natural tooth.

The Applications

At a glance, a dental crown can be used to:

  • Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Attach a dental bridge
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Restore a dental implant
  • Cosmetically cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Protect a tooth that has had root canal treatment

The Crowning Process

Applying a dental crown or onlay typically takes two visits to our Kingston biological holistic dentistry practice. During your first visit, our dental team will prepare your tooth to receive its new crown or onlay: shaping it in a way to provide retention for the final crown/onlay yet being as conservative as possible. Sometimes a filling material will need to be used to build up the missing tooth structure first.

Next, our team will take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to our lab where models are made, allowing them to create your dental crown or onlay that is specifically designed for your bite and smile. For many crowns and onlays, we are now optically scanning the teeth rather than taking impressions.

Lastly, before leaving our Kingston office, we will fabricate a temporary crown or onlay for your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown/onlay is ready. The temporary crown/onlay also preserves the relationships of your tooth being crowned/onlayed, to its neighbors, so that the next visit is as short as possible and comfortable. During this next visit, your final crown or onlay will be placed with a permanent cement which can be a resin that hardens when exposed to special light or it can be other, biocompatible materials.

Once the final crown or onlay is placed, proper dental hygiene (including daily brushing and utilization of a Waterpick®) is required to maintain a healthy environment for your investment. Given proper care, your dental crowns and onlays can last a lifetime.

Getting Crowned

Dental crowns and onlays are crafted from today’s highest-quality dental materials including porcelain, resins, high noble gold alloys and/or zirconia. They are designed to replicate your natural tooth in color, shape and function; you should not be able to tell the difference from the teeth you were born with.

Our biological holistic dentistry practice would be happy to discuss the details of dental crowns and onlays with you further. If you have any questions about this service, or our other cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry treatments, please contact us at our Kingston office today. We would love to help add strength and style back to your smile!