Dental Crowns: Which one Will Help Save Your Smile?

Red-headed woman smiles and looks at her dental veneers in dental chair

Sometimes teeth get damaged because of injury or decay. There are several solutions that might help but depending on the type of damage and the state of your teeth, your dentist may decide that dental crowns are the best way to fix your tooth.

A dental crown, also known as a cap, fits over a damaged tooth to improve its appearance, strengthen it, and prevent decay. The process usually takes two visits and how long it lasts depends on the material used.

Why would I need dental crowns?

There are several reasons you might need dental crowns:

  • Strengthen and protect a weak or cracked tooth
  • Protect and cover a large cavity
  • Support a dental bridge
  • Protect a tooth after a root canal
  • Cover a discolored or misshaped tooth
  • Cover a dental implant

How are dental crowns placed?

  1. Your dentist will do an X-ray of the tooth that needs the crown. If there is an injury to the tooth’s pulp, an infection, or tooth decay, they may want to do a root canal treatment first.
  2. Your dentist will file the tooth down on the top and the sides to make room for the crown. How much filing is needed depends on the material of the crown.
  3. Impressions will be taken of your teeth so they can make a copy and produce a crown that will fit perfectly. The impression will include the tooth that needs a crown plus the teeth above or below so they can make a crown that won’t affect your bite.
  4. The impressions are sent to the lab where the crown will be made and it usually arrives at your dentist’s office in two to three weeks. Your dentist will probably put a temporary crown in place until the permanent crown is ready.
  5. The temporary crown will be removed. Then your dentist will check out the permanent crown fits and make sure the color is correct. If everything is right, they may give you a local anesthetic and cement the permanent crown in place.

Types of Dental Crowns

There are several types of dental crowns, made from different materials. Your dentist will divide which type is best for your teeth.

Stainless Steel

Dentists usually use stainless steel dental crowns for baby teeth because they’re temporary. They are cost-effective and are good for preventing further decay. This is helpful for kids with a cavity and have a hard time keeping up with oral hygiene. These crowns are thin so they may not require your dentist to shave off very much of your tooth.


Metal dental crowns are comprised of alloys that contain gold, cobalt-chromium, platinum, and nickel-chromium. They last a long time and are very durable. They look like metal so are usually only used on the back molars.


These dental crowns are kind of like a hybrid. They have a layer of metal for strength and durability but then are covered with porcelain, which is the color of teeth. The combination of the two creates a stronger and better-looking crown. They look natural but can chip or break.


These dental crowns are fitted right to the gumline and are the least expensive type of dental crown. However, they may not last as long as other types because they can chip and wear down.

All-porcelain / All-Ceramic

These dental crowns can be used on back or front teeth and are great to use for people with metal allergies. They look natural and have the most success matching the color of your teeth, but they are the most expensive option.

Do dental crowns require special care?

Dental crowns typically don’t require any more special care than your regular teeth. It is possible for them to wear down over time and certain types are more prone to chipping and breaking than others.

To preserve the dental crown and make it last as long as possible, make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and floss your teeth once a day to ensure optimal oral health. Do your best to avoid biting down on anything hard with your crowned tooth. This includes things like ice, very hard candy, and popcorn hulls. This is especially true if you have an all-porcelain crown.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Park Ridge, contact us at Park Ridge Dental Associates. You can book an appointment online by going to our website or give us a call at (847) 915-6243.