When is a Dental Crown Needed?

A dental crown is much like a bridge or filling, except it has its own specific job that neither of these options provide. Many people try to use crowns, fillings, or bridges as interchangeable terms, but this is an incorrect assumption as each are very different. A dental crown is an amazing tool and helps to correct a tooth and even strengthen it when the need arises. Let’s dive deeper.

What is a Crown?

A crown is a cap or cover for a damaged tooth. It is made out of various materials, but the most commonly used materials are usually metal alloys, porcelain, and resin composite. The more popular options are porcelain and resin composite because they resemble the color of the tooth and blend in. This means it looks like a natural tooth and doesn’t stand out, unlike the metal alloys that look blackish or silver in the mouth.

What Do Crowns Do?

When a tooth is cracked, has a large cavity, has an odd shape, is discolored, etc. this is when a crown is used. Crowns are also used to hold a bridge in place which fills in for a missing tooth. The crowns act as anchors on either side of the false tooth. A crown covers a tooth which makes it stronger, holds together any broken pieces, makes it aesthetically pleasing, etc. For example, say a tooth has suffered decay and has damaged a large portion of the tooth. A filling is usually used in order to fix cavities or decay like this. However, fillings aren’t strong enough when it comes to such a large portion of the tooth being affected. In this case, a crown would be used instead since it acts like a filling, but is stronger and can cover a larger surface area.

Temporary and Permanent Crowns

A crown will be adjusted to fit a person’s tooth perfectly. This means that a crown is often made in a laboratory and isn’t done all in one visit. These are known as permanent crowns. Temporary crowns can be made the same day and created at a dentist’s office. However, these are not meant for long term use and will eventually need to be replaced or removed, depending on the circumstances of its use. Molds and measurements will be taken when it’s a permanent crown and this information will be sent off to a lab. Once it’s finished, the lab will send back the crown and your dentist will place it in your mouth and make sure it’s perfect. If it’s not just right, bite issues, pain, etc. could occur. So, it’s important this crown fits correctly with the surrounding teeth. Temporary crowns will be attached until either the permanent crown can be produced or whatever issue is occurring has been resolved.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”