About Crowns

Crowns are different from bridges in that a crown is used to restore an existing tooth versus a missing tooth. A crown is a cap, which is usually made of porcelain. That cap is placed on the top of the tooth to restore its natural function, as well as its appearance. Crowns replace the portion of the tooth that has been removed due to advanced decay with a procedure called a root canal.

Crowns have other uses when it comes to dental restoration. A crown can be used to attach bridges. It’s also the perfect cover for implants. You might have a cracked tooth or possibly an existing filling that might suddenly become loose or dislocated. A crown is the best way to address such a problem. Let’s say you have a discolored or stained tooth and you want to improve its appearance. A crown can be made and fitted to the tooth and restore it to its natural appearance.


In order to assure a crown fits the tooth, it generally has to be reduced in size. Once that is done, the dentist will make a cast of the existing tooth. Following that, your dentist will make an impression. The impression, in turn, is sent off to a lab. The lab will produce a custom-designed crown from the impression. Usually a temporary crown is applied to the tooth until the permanent crown is has been completed by the lab. Once the permanent crown is received, it is cemented in place.

Although crowns are many times confused with veneers, there is a big difference between the two. In the case of Veneers, they are normally applied to small areas in the mouth.

Caring For Your Crowns

If you are good about taking care of your teeth, a crown that is well made can literally last up to eight years or more. As an extra precaution, you should always floss in the area of the crown. This will help you control the possibilities of excess plaque and ensure excess debris doesn’t form around the restoration.

The life of a crown is determined by particular behaviors. For example, if you have a problem with jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) that could shorten the life of your crown. There are other things that will impact it as well. Try to avoid eating brittle foods, ice, or hard candy. These particular types of food can affect the adhesion properties of the crown or possibly damage it. 

What to Do While Wearing a Temporary Crown or Bridge

Temporary dental crowns are just a temporary cover until your permanent crown is ready. We recommend the following to ensure that your temporary crown serves you well.

  • Don't be surprised if you have some mild discomfort around the gums of the temporary or around the area where anesthesia was applied for the next couple of days. Rinsing with warm salt water will help accelerate the healing of the gums.

  • For pain management, an effective pain regimen is to take Ibuprofen (Advil) 400mg + Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500mg together every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Do not exceed 2400mg Ibuprofen or 3000mg Acetaminophen daily.

  • Avoid sticky, chewy foods which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the temporary crown. Avoid chewing hard foods which could break the temporary crown.

  • Brush and floss as normal but when flossing do not pull floss up between the temporary crown. Pull the floss through instead. Lifting up may cause the temporary to come off.

What if My Temporary Crown Comes Off?

The most important thing is not to panic. If this happens, it is not an emergency but do not be surprised if the tooth is sensitive- that is normal. Call our office to make an appointment to re-cement your temporary crown at 423-265-3471.