Dr. Martin answers your FAQs about crowns

Crowns 101 with Dr. Jennifer Martin

We know you probably have a lot of questions about crowns, so we asked Dr. Jennifer Martin to answer some of the most commonly asked ones: 

What is a crown?

A crown is a natural looking tooth shaped restoration that completely covers your tooth.

Why might I need a crown?

Crowns can be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking, restore a tooth after it fractures, improve or restore the alignment of teeth, fill in gaps, complete an implant, or protect a tooth after a root canal.

Why do I need a crown after a root canal?

A root canal is performed to remove infected nerve tissue. After a root canal, the nerves and blood vessels are no longer in the tooth. Without these structures, your tooth becomes dry and brittle. A crown ensures that the tooth remains strong enough to withstand biting and chewing. The crown also prevents the area where the nerve was removed from being reinfected with bacteria.

What is a crown made out of?

Most crowns in our office are made out of a very hard white material called zirconia, or a zirconia derived product. Zirconia is both biocompatible, meaning it works well with human tissue, and durable.  Zirconia is the best material for most, but not all, patients – so we’ll determine the best kind of crown for you based on your unique case.

Will you be able to see my crown?

You will likely not even know which tooth has the crown! We spend a lot of time matching the color of the crown to your natural teeth and place the seams of the crown at or below the level of your gum.

What happens if I don’t get a crown that was recommended?

Your tooth can break and depending on where it breaks you may need additional surgery to restore the tooth.

I was told I need a “build up”? What’s that?

If you have an old filling and/or a very big cavity, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a crown. We use a build up to literally “build-up” and fill in the area so that the crown has a solid foundation to rest on. Build ups are made of the same kind of resin material as tooth-colored fillings.

Does getting a crown hurt?

No, it shouldn’t! Your comfort is one of our top priorities. We will make sure that you are completely numb before we start. We also encourage you to take breaks and let us know if anything bothers you during the procedure.

What should I expect at my visit(s)?

Usually, a crown can be completed in two visits. You should expect to be numb for both visits. At your first visit, we’ll prepare the tooth for the crown and take a few different dental molds. You will have to keep your mouth open off and off for about an hour. At the end of the first visit, you will leave with a natural-looking temporary crown to protect your tooth until your permanent crown is ready. We send the molds to one of our top-quality labs right here in the USA and have expert technicians create a crown to fit your tooth. You return about two to three weeks later so that we can cement your permanent crown.

How long does a crown last?

There is no definite expiration date but generally, we expect crowns to last 10-15 years. With good oral hygiene and regular dental wellness visits, they can last a lot longer.

What happens if my crown falls off?

If your temporary crown falls off, call us right away so that we can recement it for you.

Does my insurance cover a crown?

That all depends on the details of the plan that your employer selected for you. A lot of the time insurance will help cover part of the cost of a crown, but not always. Central Park West Dentistry’s Insurance Coordinators will contact your plan and let you know your crown coverage. We can offer interest-free financing and will work with you to help make investing in a crown possible.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Just email office@cpwdentistry.com or call (212) 579-8885 and we’ll be happy to answer it for you.


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