What Is a Dental Crown?
According to the American Dental Association’s glossary of dental terms, a dental crown is an artificial replacement that restores missing tooth material by surrounding the remaining tooth structure, or is placed on a dental implant. Dental crowns are made of metal, ceramic or polymer materials or a combination of these materials. Dental crowns are retained by luting cement or mechanical means.
In simple terms, a dental crown is basically a cap, which is placed over a compromised natural tooth in order to restore its shape, size, strength, and function. Generally, a dental crown can last up to 15 years, depending on your dental habits, chewing patterns, and nighttime grinding. Dental crowns across the U.S. are generally very expensive, averaging upwards of $1200. Fortunately, with the emergence of dental tourism, or traveling across borders to receive cheap dental care, Americans can save a lot of money on their dental crowns. Dental clinics in Beyond Borders Dental our referral programs are experts in porcelain fused to metal (PFM), all porcelain, and zirconia crowns.
Why Are Dental Crowns Necessary?
There can be a number of reasons a dental crown is necessary:
- The tooth is weakened, broken, or worn and must be restored.
- A dental crown may be necessary to cover and protect a tooth that has had fillings, leaving little of the remaining tooth.
- To conceal discolored or otherwise damaged teeth for cosmetic reasons.
- To hold a dental bridge in place or to cap a dental implant.
- To conceal misshapen or discolored teeth.
- Teeth that have had root canal treatments.
The Process of Getting a Dental Crown
The procedure of getting a dental crown usually requires one or two visits to complete the entire process, depending on the clinic. This usually involves some filing of the tooth to make sure the dental crown can fit over the remaining tooth structure. In cases of extreme damage of the original tooth, or if the roots are damaged to the point that they can’t support the dental crown, a root canal may need to be performed first.
Then the dentist will take either a physical impression, or a digital image to determine who to fabricate the replacement dental crown so that it fits properly in the space and accommodates your bite properly. If the impression has to be sent to a off-sight lab, a temporary dental crown covers the prepared tooth until the permanent crown is placed.
You may also hear the term “on-lays” or “3/4 crowns”. These are variations from traditional dental crowns that involve covering less of the natural tooth. As you might expect, these variations cover less of the underlying tooth, and are used only in special circumstances.
If you’re fitted with a temporary crown, there are some precautions we recommend:
- Avoid sticky or gummy foods such as gum, or caramel candy on the side where the temporary is placed
- When you can, chew more frequently on the other side of your mouth
- Alter your flossing techniques to slide floss through and out the side, rather than lifting the floss up between the teeth. This can dislodge the temporary dental crown
What Types of Dental Crowns Are Available?
Metal Dental Crowns: These dental crowns could include gold alloy, base metal alloy (nickel or chromium) or other alloys (palladium). Since the color is less desirable, this option is not the most popular. But they do have excellent longevity. Often they may be an option in the less visible quadrants of the mouth.
Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Dental Crowns: Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns are often used for the most visible teeth, such as the front teeth. These dental crowns are usually undetectable with the porcelain outer appearance and they can be matched to look very much like your original teeth.
All Ceramic or All Porcelain Dental Crowns: While not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal, all porcelain dental crowns or all ceramic dental crowns are the most realistic, especially for the front teeth. Still, many people prefer all ceramic dental crowns or porcelain dental crowns because they are the most bio-compatible material, and it is unlikely to cause any adverse reactions in the patient.
Zirconia: This makes a good base for porcelain dental crowns because it bonds well and strengthens the dental crown. This material has been used for years in dental restoration. It is still a metal, so if someone is acutely reactive to metals, they may want to be tested for reactivity first. It creates an excellent cosmetic result.
How Much Do Crowns Cost, and How Much Can I Save with Beyond Borders Dental?
The cost for a dental crown can vary widely — factors such as local competition in your city or even where you live in the U.S. Crowns usually cost $1000 to $1500 per crown. The price in our clinics, start at $425 for a porcelain fused to metal (PFM) — a savings of over $1000 per crown in some cases. And, our approved dental clinics use the same materials as are used in the U.S. For a more detailed breakdown of cost savings, visit our “How Much Can I Save?” page.
You may also have questions about the quality of the dental care in Mexico, due to the price disparity; be sure to visit our “What About the Quality?” page. It explains that 90% of people getting dental work from dentists in Mexico were satisfied according to an extensive survey, finding their treatment either “good” or “excellent”. You will also learn important information about the inconsistencies of dental care in the U.S.
Problems that Can Arise with Dental Crowns
In most cases, dental crowns are well accepted by the body and cause few problems. While there may be sensitivity in the beginning, this usually resides quickly. If you have a continuing issue of sensitivity, you could consider one of many special toothpastes developed for tooth sensitivity. If your bite does not feel right, there may need to be some adjustment to the height of the crown. This is easily adjusted and not uncommon.
In some cases a dental crown may become loose or even fall off. A number of things can cause this, including a lack of adequate cement at the time of permanent placement, or in some cases, an improper fit.
In very rare cases, there can be an allergic reaction to the materials in the dental crown, or the cement that is used. However, extensive research has been used to develop materials that are bio-compatible, and it is highly unlikely that you will have such a reaction. Our dentists guarantee their work and services for at least four years but if you do encounter any problems later, please contact us to address it.
To find out more about how you can get affordable, high-quality dental care in Mexico, call us today at (505) 738-7770 or click this link to send us your inquiry and we’ll get back to you.