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Dental Crown

What is a tooth crown?

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Dental Crown explained

Dr Sarah explains everything you need to know about tooth crown services at the dentist

dental crown most commonly refers to an indirect custom made covering that is cemented over the top of a re-shaped tooth to offer protection and strength after the tooth has experienced significant damage from a break or disease.  Dental tooth crowns are considered to be the next best thing after your natural tooth if you wish to keep a fragile tooth functional for as long as possible. However, it is important to note that nothing compares to the strength and natural barriers against disease and the pressures of biting and chewing that healthy tooth structure was designed to withstand.

Have you been told you need a dental crown but not sure which dentist to see?

Dental crown treatments can be expensive, time-consuming, and pop up at the most
inconvenient time. With AirSmile, you can manage your tooth crown booking in minutes
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members, and find a time that works for your schedule. We know how stressful caring for
your oral health can be so we’ve worked hard to make sure you feel in control and
understand every step of the process.

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care services such as dental fillings, teeth whitening, wisdom teeth removal, and dentures.
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Tooth crown services on AirSmile



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AirSmile is the best online source for finding the right dentist to get your new dental crown treatment completed.  Our dentists’ members are experts at creating a custom made tooth crown that fits perfectly, feels amazing and looks like a natural tooth that even the fussiest of people will struggle to spot from the rest of your smile.  That’s the type of dental crown service you deserve!  

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Understanding your condition is the key to making the right choices for you


The dental crown cost will vary depending on the type of material being used by the dentist to construct the tooth crown. For a composite resin tooth crown cost, you can expect to pay between $400 – $650. If the dental crown is an indirect custom made ceramic crown the cost is usually somewhere between $900 – $1800 depending on the size of the crown, the complexity of the construction and other services required to ensure the quality of the overall service. A gold or zirconia crown is made by a dental lab technician and will cost between $1500 – $2000. These two types of materials are considered to be the strongest man-made tooth equivalent material available today.

1. The dentist will numb the gum and tooth using a local anesthetic

2. If there is an existing filling inside the tooth that is leaking or breaking down, the dentist may decide to replace this to ensure a clean and sturdy foundation for the new tooth crown to be cemented onto.

3. The dentist will reshape the tooth to make room for the dental crown to sit snugly over the top. Depending on the damage needing repair, a tooth crown may completely cover the entire tooth, or it may just cover the area needing protection, leaving the rest of the natural tooth intact.

4. Once the tooth has been shaped the dentist will take either a putty impression or a digital scan of the prepared tooth.

5. The putty impression or digital scan is then sent to the lab, or if the practice is making the dental crown onsite using CAD/CAM equipment the design process will be done by the dentist immediately.

6. The next stage is cementing the crown which consists of numbing the area once more and going through the stages of cementation using a system of materials that glues the new tooth crown directly to the tooth surface. The key is to ensure a seamless fit around the tooth margin to reduce the risk of bacteria from entering under the new crown.

7. The dentist will check that you are happy with the look and feel of the new dental crown and if all feels normal, your dental crown treatment is complete.

The materials used to make a dental tooth crown include;

  • composite resin
  • gold
  • zirconia
  • stainless steel
  • all-porcelain / ceramic
  • and porcelain fused to a metal core

1. The tooth has previously had a large filling that is now failing. To replace the tooth filling with a new filling will only provide a short term fix and put the tooth at risk of breaking beyond repair.

2. The nerve of the tooth has become infected forcing you to have a root canal treatment in an effort to keep the tooth. A root canal procedure weakens the tooth, therefore, a crown may be recommended to bring strength and stability back to the tooth.

3. A hairline crack or fracture has developed on the tooth surface. If left exposed and untreated, the crack could develop further causing the tooth to break beyond repair, pain on biting due to the tooth structure flexing when you chew, or with a significant crack, it may reach the nerve of the tooth causing it to become infected and die.

4. The tooth has been badly worn down from clenching and grinding and due to these intense pressures of a person with a bruxing habit, a regular composite filling will not be able to withstand these forces like an indirect dental crown can.

5. The outer layer of the tooth has eroded away from an acidic diet, improper tooth brushing, medical conditions such as reflux or regular medications and now needs a protective covering that can provide a sustainable barrier from these elements if the tooth is to survive long term.

The type of dental crown material a dentist will recommend for a back tooth will depend on a few factors.

1. Are there any opposing teeth that bite down onto the new tooth crown
2. The overall function and position of the bite
3. The amount of natural tooth structure available to cement the tooth crown on to
4. How many teeth surround the tooth being crowned
5. What caused the tooth to need a crown in the first place
6. The patient’s overall level of gum and general oral health

Once a dentist has considered these factors they will suggest the right material to suit your needs. If the tooth crown needs the highest level of strength with minimal removal of tooth structure, then a gold crown might be considered. If aesthetics are most dental important, a full ceramic dental crown might be best so that it can be colour matched to blend perfectly with the rest of the smile.

When deciding which dental crown material to use for a back molar tooth it is important that you clearly understand the pros and cons of each option. Taking the time to speak with the dentist about why they are recommending a particular tooth crown material is the key to feeling in control of your dental health.

A dental crown procedure should not be painful or give you any discomfort during the appointment itself. Patients relate having a dental crown treatment similar to having a routine tooth filling treatment completed as the process of using the drill and shaping the tooth for the dental crown is much like preparing a tooth for a dental filling. To ensure you don’t feel a thing the dentist will numb the area completely using local anesthetic before they begin treatment. You may, however, experience some slight teeth sensitivity to temperature post-treatment. This is due to the gum and tooth being worked on and exposed to the elements in order to make room for your new tooth crown.

With proper home care, regular visits to the dentist to review and maintain the integrity and stability of the crown and to address any concerns early on that may impact on the dental crown structure or the underlying tooth, tooth crowns can last for many many years. How long will vary greatly on a number of factors such as diet and lifestyle, the position of the teeth and bite, bruxing habits, medical health and medications and overall oral health and home hygiene care The best way to ensure you get the longest life possible out of your new dental crown is to have the treatment done by a dental expert who is confident in providing you with a well-designed dental crown that fits perfectly and meets your dental needs, and by returning to the dentist every six months for regular teeth cleaning and a review of the integrity of the crown and tooth.

It is important to note that dental tooth crowns are considered the most long term solution to keeping a fragile tooth strong and in your smile for as long as possible.


Following treatment for a tooth crown, you can expect the tooth and gum to be sensitive to hot and cold for a few days. This is completely normal. If the tooth continues to be sensitive without improvement for more than two weeks it is advised to return to the dentist for a consultation.

The tooth crown should feel completely normal in your bite. If you can feel the tooth crown when you bite down as the first point of contact you must return to the dentist for the dental crown to be adjusted. Leaving a dental crown high in your bite may cause significant damage to the tooth and nerve.

Yes. It is possible for a dental crown to fall off. In most situations, this can be a simple case of dental cement becoming unstuck. A quick visit to the dentist to have it recemented is often all that is needed if the crown is still intact and the tooth itself is healthy. However, if the crown has fallen off because the underlying tooth structure has been compromised with a break or decay (tooth rot) the solution might not be quite as simple.

If the dental crown has come away because the foundational support and structure of the natural tooth holding the crown in place is no longer healthy the dentist may advise you that the dental crown you have can no longer be used. Your options might be to redo the entire dental crown procedure by reshaping the tooth and treating the newly damaged or decayed area and having a new crown made and cemented. Or it could mean that tooth is beyond repair and a tooth crown is no longer a viable option for this tooth and removal of the tooth is now the most cost-effective and sound option.


Having a dental crown is not a set and forget treatment solution where you never have to worry about the tooth again. Just because you have a solid covering over the top of the tooth does not mean it is protected from the bacteria and disease that cause decay and tooth loss. The most common path for bacteria to enter underneath a dental crown is through the join or margin where the dental crown butts up against the natural tooth. Over time the tooth structure and or dental crown can wear away exposing the natural tooth structure, or causing gaps to appear between the joints allowing food, debris and bacteria to find its way through to the underlying tooth. This burrowing of cavity-causing bacteria can happen slowly over time without you or the dentist ever knowing what is happening until the crown comes off, the tooth breaks or you experience sensitivity or pain.

It can be difficult to identify and diagnose a cavity or infection under a crown in a visual examination or with an x-ray as the dental crown is radio-opaque meaning it blocks the radiation from passing through making it almost impossible to see what’s happening underneath and inside the tooth crown. Majority of the time, the dentist relies on the patient’s feedback on symptoms felt by the tooth to diagnose a cavity under a dental crown. In some cases, the dentist may suggest removing the crown in order to inspect the tooth structure and give a clear diagnosis.

No teeth whitening gel or teeth bleaching products will change the colour of a dental crown of any kind, no matter what dental material has been used to complete the dental crown. If you want to whiten your teeth, it is advised to do this prior to having your tooth crown procedure so that the dentist can match the tooth crown to the colour of your freshly whitened teeth.

Be warned! If you whiten your teeth prior to having a dental crown, and the dental crown colour is made to match the bright white shade of your bleached teeth, you will need to maintain regular whitening of your teeth over time to ensure the dental crown continues to blend with the rest of your natural teeth. Whitening when you have a dental crown in your smile line becomes a lifelong commitment that you must consider if you want the dental crown to look as if it is your own.

Care for your dental crown the same as you would the rest of your natural teeth. There is no need for additional care with a tooth crown. Brushing the tooth and surrounding gum twice a day, and flossing between the tooth crown and the teeth either side is all that should be required for home care maintenance of your tooth crown.

Regular visits to the dentist for a check-up and teeth cleaning, usually every six months, is highly recommended. This allows the dentist to inspect the margins of the crown, note how the structure of the dental crown is holding up in your bite and make sure the rest of your teeth and gums are looking healthy. A tooth crown is a significant investment in your dental health and one you should ensure you care for long after it has been placed.


Dental Crown

A dental crown usually covers the entire tooth completely, almost right down to the gum line, to minimise the risk of breakage and bacteria being trapped between the tooth crown and the natural tooth.  Tooth crowns, or tooth caps as they are sometimes referred to, are designed to provide greater stability for the tooth so that it will last for a longer period of time.  A tooth crown can be the ideal treatment solution to a tooth that has experienced significant damage and needs the strength and protection a tooth crown or tooth cap can provide.

The most common form of a dental crown refers to an indirect lab-made tooth crown made from porcelain ceramic, gold, zirconia, or stainless steel.  An indirect tooth crown is traditionally made by a dental lab technician off-site in a dental laboratory who also makes other dental prosthetics such as dentures, mouthguards, and whitening trays.  The entire process of getting a lab-made tooth crown treatment takes around two weeks with two appointments needed in total to complete.  Depending on the cosmetic and aesthetic complexity involved to match the shape and color of the new tooth crown to the rest of your teeth, you might be asked to attend the dental laboratory in person for a custom tooth shade consultation to ensure the color match is correct.  However, in most cases, the dentist will be able to take a set of photographs and forward these to the dental lab technician to match the tooth shade perfectly. 

An alternative to lab-made dental crowns most modern dental practices now offer is a single visit tooth crown using state-of-the-art crown-making software called CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing equipment).  This amazing technology eliminates the need to outsource the process of making the tooth crown with a dental laboratory and in turn saving you weeks of wearing a temporary covering and having to return to the dentist to have the treatment completed on separate days.  After the tooth has been re-shaped to allow enough room to fit the new tooth crown over the top of the tooth, the dentist will take a digital scan with the CAD/CAM camera and design your crown on the spot.  This initial process usually takes around 1 hour.  A milling unit cuts the tooth crown out of a solid block of porcelain that is then placed inside a furnace to set the glaze and harden the material.  Once your new tooth crown has been made and cooled the dentist will cement it in place, check the look and feel and make any adjustments needed.  This final stage of cementing the dental crown in place takes around 30 minutes.  With these latest advancements in dental technology, having a dental crown placed can be done within two hours by an experienced dentist.  

There is an alternative to an indirect lab-made tooth crown using a white-colored restorative material called composite resin which is referred to as a direct composite crown.  The composite resin material used for a full coverage tooth crown is the same material used for routine teeth fillings and since it does not require a lab technician or equipment to create the crown, it can be completed in a single dental visit.  Patients might consider this option as it is considerably less expensive than an indirect dental crown.  That said, it is important to note that direct composite resin dental crowns are not as strong and long-lasting as an indirect tooth crown made by a lab technician or CAD/CAM equipment which uses far more superior and harder wearing material.  However, if the composite tooth crown is well maintained it may provide you with the added strength to prolong the life of a broken tooth for a few more years which makes it a great alternative to losing a tooth sooner than you’d like.

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