These common restorations are indicated when there is too much decayed or missing tooth structure for a filling to do the job, or when a tooth has had a root canal and is too brittle to handle biting pressure without a strong “cap” over it.
Crowns are more expensive than a filling, but when they are needed, it could be the difference between keeping the tooth and losing it.
We use a variety of materials for crowns based on your tooth’s specific needs and we make every effort to make sure that you are happy with the final outcome.
The more of a tooth that is man made material, the less of it is natural tooth structure. There is a tipping point at which too much of the original tooth is gone to fix with a filling without a high probability of it breaking. A crown is not indestructible, but it can withstand chewing/biting forces much better than fillings in some cases. Teeth may also need crowning if they are root canal treated or cracked/broken.
This depends on many factors, including how well the crown is taken care of. In one recently published study* one dentist kept track of 201 crowns they placed from 1966 and 1996 and of those, some of which that have been in place for 50 years, 6 had failed due to nerve infection. This gives us an overall survival rate for the crowns placed over that time of 97%. However, all of the patients in this study got their teeth cleaned regularly and had good oral hygiene. If diligent brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are not performed, decay can form underneath a crown causing pain and infection. Similar to a car, you have to do the preventive maintenance to maximize a crown’s life (and the tooth underneath it).
* Olley, RC et al. An up to 50-year follow-up of crown and veneer survival in a dental practice. J Prosthet Dent. 2017 Sep 29. pii: S0022-3913(17)30432-8. doi: 10.1016/j.prosdent.2017.06.009.
Like any medical procedure, crowns are not without risks. Any time you cut on a tooth you run the risk of causing symptoms, which could be sensitivity or pain. Crowning a tooth does require trimming away part of the tooth, which could leave the tooth sensitive to hot/cold for some period of time, or it may cause the nerve to become unhealthy, requiring root canal therapy. Studies have found that teeth that are crowned may need root canals at some point later in life roughly 10-15% of the time 1,2. Root canal therapy is not performed unless it is necessary because it comes with risks of its own, but sometimes it is needed on crowned teeth.
1. Valderhaug J et al. Assessment of the periapical and clinical status of crowned teeth over 25 years. J Dent. 1997 Mar;25(2):97-105.
2. Cheung GS et al. Fate of vital pulps beneath a metal-ceramic crown or a bridge retainer. Int Endod J. 2005 Aug;38(8):521-30.
|Tooth Type||UCR Fee||In Office Benefits Plan fee (25% off)|
* Fees shown here are for crowns only and do not include core fillings, exams, or anxiety control services. Firm treatment estimates can only be done after an in-office evaluation. Fees shown do not apply if you have dental insurance, in which case an exam must be done and benefits verified prior to estimates being given.