Crown

Offered at our convenient location in Alexandria, VA

Hesitant to smile because of a discolored, damaged, or misshapen tooth?

Don’t let that stop you!

A dental crown procedure at Old Town Smiles will have you wanting to flash those pearly whites.

What is a Dental Crown?

dental-crowns-alexandriaA crown is a restoration that covers or “caps” a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Dental crowns are used when teeth have been significantly damaged by decay, large fillings, root canal treatment, or fractures. It is a fixed prosthetic device which is cemented onto implants or already existing teeth, meaning it cannot be removed. Crowns can be placed for aesthetic, reparative, and structural function. Inlays and onlays can be a conservative alternative to dental crowns. Inlays and onlays can treat tooth decay or similar structural damage when fillings aren’t sufficient enough.

What is it Used For?

Dr. Kitchen or Dr. Ahmed may recommend a crown to be used in one or more of the following situations:

Fractured tooth protection or restoration

Fractured, broken, or cracked teeth cannot self-repair. And if left untreated, they can begin to cause irreversible oral health problems. Crowns placed on fractured, broke, or cracked teeth can protect against any more damage and repair bite.

Dead tooth restoration

As opposed to removing it, a dead tooth can be covered with a crown if the tooth does not pose any oral health risk.

Camouflage a tooth that is misshapen or discolored

Crowns are often used as an easy fix to disguise a discolored and/or misshapen tooth. All crowns are custom-designed so they can be made to match your other teeth just about perfectly.

Camouflage a root canal tooth

A root canal is performed when nerve tissue and pulp in the canal of the tooth root has become infected. Crowns can be used to cover the treated tooth to repair function and restore strength.

Bridge attachments

When a tooth is missing, a bridge can be used to fill the gap. A bridge is a row comprised of a replacement tooth surrounded by crowns which are used to hold the replacement tooth in place. This is done when a patient does not wish to receive a dental implant, which requires surgical implantation of a replacement tooth.

The crowns fit around the surrounding teeth after preparation, and the replacement tooth fits perfectly in the gap.

Dental implant coverage

Crowns can be used in conjunction with a dental implant to provide you with a beautiful smile and functional bite.

Coverage for a larger filling

Larger fillings can make the tooth wall weaker and vulnerable to breaking. By putting a crown over the large filling, the tooth walls are protected as they strengthen, and further damage can be prevented.

How is a Dental Crown Made?

There are pros and cons to the different kinds of crown material; your doctor will be happy to go over them all with you during a private consultation and choose the one most ideal for your specific case.

Crowns can be constructed from a variety of materials including gold, porcelain, porcelain fused to gold, ceramic, and zirconia. Less tooth needs to be reduced to accommodate a gold crown, but not all patients desire the gold color. Porcelain and ceramic are very strong and can be color matched to your teeth for a natural-looking crown, but are not as sturdy as gold. Porcelain fused to gold is the sturdiest, but on some occasions can show through the porcelain. Zirconia does not require impressions, and the crown can be made in office and placed in one visit.

First, the tooth is made smaller so the crown can properly fit over it. Dr. Kitchen or Dr. Ahmed will take an impression to create a mold of the tooth so the crown is an exact fit. If you choose to use a porcelain crown, color matching will be done to create not only the exact size but the exact shade to match surrounding teeth.

Once the impression is taken, it is sent to a dental lab which will make the crown out of your desired material. Temporary crowns are available if you wish to cover the reduced tooth while the permanent crown is created. When it is ready, the temporary is replaced with the new permanent crown and set in place with a special cement.

Ideal Candidates

While inlays and onlays can often be preferable to patients, sometimes more severe problems require the implementation of a crown. If you suffer from acute decay or damage as a result of physical trauma, a crown may be the best solution to restore a healthy, beautiful and confident smile. Be aware that the tooth in need must be sufficiently sturdy to support a crown; some of the tooth will need to be removed or minimized, so the foundation has to be strong enough or a dental crown may be the wrong option for you.

Generally, dental crown candidates are adults, but crowns can be used for children as well. Crowns for children are used in cases when a primary tooth is weak or damaged and cannot support a filling. When the permanent tooth grows and the primary tooth falls, the crown will fall out naturally with the primary tooth. Dr. Kitchen or Dr. Ahmed will be able to inform you after an examination whether or not you are a good candidate to have a dental crown put in. If not, they will gladly offer a suitable alternative to provide you with a beautiful smile.

Crown vs Implant

Crowns exist to sit atop a damaged or decaying tooth in order to improve the overall look of your smile. Indeed, the crown actually needs the tooth beneath it to keep it in place and acts as a concealer for any unsightly chips, breakage, discoloration and decay. An implant, meanwhile, works independently of a natural tooth and is made to fill gaps instead of covering up imperfections. In the spot where a tooth is missing, an implant is attached directly to the jawbone itself, blending in with the natural teeth that surround it to fill out your smile and give you back your confidence.

Crown vs Bridge

dental-bridge-alexandriaLike implants, bridges are used to hide a gap in the mouth if the patient is missing a tooth, or even several teeth. However, a bridge does not involve surgical implantation. A bridge acts as a literal bridge; a pontic, or replacement tooth, is attached between two crowns that fit over the teeth surrounding the gap. The teeth surrounding said gap are reduced in size to accommodate the crowns capping them in order for the pontic to stay put. The bridge is indefinitely cemented into the mouth to create a complete row. Patients have the ability to choose their bridge material like a crown. It is important to fill gaps because remaining teeth can potentially shift and rotate into the empty space, impairing proper bite.

Consultation

Setting a consultation date with either Dr. Kitchen or Dr. Ahmed at our Alexandria, Virginia office is the first step on your journey to a radiant smile. It is at the consultation that you will acquire all the essential evaluations and information for your dental crown. Your doctor will also explain the procedure in full, including preparation and recovery instructions which will be custom tailored to your individual case. Both you and the doctor will decide on a crown material that is optimal for functionality and aesthetically pleasing. Cost, payment, and insurance options will be discussed at this time, as well as any additional questions you may have.

The Procedure

Traditional crowns require two appointments, but please feel free to ask about our single appointment options during your consultation.

Traditional crowns require two appointments. During the first appointment the tooth is prepared for a crown, impressions of the tooth are taken, and a temporary crown is placed. The impressions are then sent to the lab where our master ceramist makes the crown. At the second appointment the permanent crown is placed.

We offer one-day appointments for crowns, inlays, and onlays when we use our high-tech Cerec milling unit and a CAD-CAM machine that designs and mills restorations in minutes. This eliminates the temporaries which allows you to walk out of our office with your new permanent restorations. Crowns, inlays, and onlays will restore, strengthen, and improve the appearance of a tooth.

Taking Care of Your Crowns

dentist-teeth-alexandriaAlthough crowns have the capability of lasting a lifetime, they can sometimes loosen or fall out completely if proper care isn’t taken. In order to help ensure your crown lasts, please practice good oral hygiene; this is the most important step. Patients can help prevent damage to the crown by brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and avoiding hard foods and candy. Regular check-ups with your doctor will also be needed to make sure your crown is in top condition. Dental crowns can be considered one of, if not the leading dental treatment to restore appearance and functionality of a tooth.

Cost

The cost of a crown depends on the amount required for your individual case and if they are used in conjunction with a bridge. You can receive a customized estimation of cost during a meeting with Dr. Kitchen or Dr. Ahmed in our Virginia location. Please feel free to schedule your consultation today and begin the journey to your perfect smile.