Sometimes a tooth becomes too decayed or damaged to repair by simply using a filling. However, it may not be necessary (or desirable) to extract the tooth entirely. In such cases, our expert cosmetic dentists in Westwood can repair your smile to give you natural- and healthy-looking teeth once again through the application of a crown.

What are Crowns?

Dental crown installation process

Crowns (sometimes called caps) are artificial covers handcrafted to fully encase the visible portion of a damaged tooth. Crowns are used because they are a quicker and easier way to restore a damaged tooth to its natural size, shape, and color without extracting it or replacing it with an artificial appliance. They can also be used to strengthen a weak tooth that is already broken or is likely to break.

While there are several types of materials used for crowns, the most common we use here at our Westwood dentist office are crafted from porcelain. This porcelain is durable—lasts for years at a time—and mimics the natural enamel surface of a tooth in both luster and color shading. These porcelain crowns are often the best option for visible teeth—though they are slightly more expensive than crowns manufactured from other materials like stainless steel, resin, or ceramic.

It’s important to keep in mind that crowns are generally considered a temporary measure even though they may last for many years. The crown will either eventually need to be replaced or a more permanent solution (such as extraction and replacement of the damaged tooth) may be required.

Even so-called “permanent crowns” made in offsite laboratories will not likely last forever—though they may stay in place for much longer than those manufactured in the dentist’s office.

How are Crowns Placed

The first step is to prep the tooth on which the crown will be placed. If the tooth is not badly damaged and is roughly the “normal” shape and size, it will need to be filed down in order to create space for the artificial crown material. If a crown is placed on a normal tooth that’s not prepped in such a way, it could completely misalign your bite.

If the tooth is damaged or decayed, a filling material will need to be used in order to build the tooth up to the point where a crown can be placed.

Next, an impression will be made (either with dental putty or digitally). That scan will give whoever manufactures the crown (your dentist or the laboratory crafting a permanent crown) an accurate model to work from.

Next, the crown will be cemented in place.

If crafting a crown outside the office is necessary, our Westwood dentists will often place a temporary crown made of acrylic on the tooth until the permanent crown is available.

How Much Do Crowns Cost?

The average cost of a crown is between $800 and $3,000 per tooth (depending on the amount of prep work involved and the material used). And while that may seem like a lot of money for one tooth, what price tag can you put on a healthy mouth or smile for that matter?

Crowns are not generally offered as a solution when a simple filling will do. Comparatively, extraction and crafting a replacement dental appliance often costs much more than installation of a permanent crown.

Don’t let financial fears keep you from repairing your smile or fixing painful broken teeth. Westwood Village Smiles offers a wide array of payment options including CareCredit Financing so you can get necessary dental work done without worrying about the cost.

Do You Need a Crown?

Crowns are only one option available to you at our Westwood dentist office. There may be other less-invasive, and more affordable options to help repair your smile. Call us at (310) 254-9355 or schedule an appointment online for an obligation-free consultation to see if a crown is the best option for you.