Has your dentist recommended a dental crown for you to protect the top of your tooth? Here’s what you should know before getting a dental crown. What Is a Dental…

What to Know About Dental Crowns

What You Should Know About Dental Crowns

Has your dentist recommended a dental crown for you to protect the top of your tooth? Here’s what you should know before getting a dental crown.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown or “cap” is a cover that a dentist puts over a tooth to restore it to its normal shape, size and function. A crown can make a tooth stronger or even improve the tooth’s appearance. 

Why Would My Dentist Recommend a Crown?

Your dentist might recommend a dental crown if: 

  • A cavity is too large for a filling
  • A tooth is cracked, worn down or weakened in some way
  • A root canal was performed and a crown is needed to protect the restored tooth

What Are Common Types of Crowns?

  • Metal Crowns
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal
  • All-Resin
  • All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain

Metal Crowns

Gold, palladium, nickel or chromium. These crowns rarely break or chip and typically have the longest life. The metallic color is the main drawback, but these crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molar teeth. 

Porcelain Fused to Metal

Typically the most common crowns we hear about at 1Dental, these crowns have a natural tooth color and are a good choice for front or back teeth. The main drawback is that sometimes the metal under the porcelain exterior will show through as a dark line. 


This is the least expensive crown type. However, resin crowns wear over time and are more likely to break than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. 

All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain

More cosmetic in nature, all-ceramic or all-porcelain offer a more natural color match than other types of crowns. These crowns have been gaining popularity in recent years because some dental offices can make them in-house without having to use a lab for fabrication. However, they’re not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. These are good choices for front teeth. 

How Much Does a Tooth Crown Cost?

Dental crowns can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,400 depending on the type of crown you need and where you live. Since different dental crown materials have different price points, you may want to ask your dentist why a specific type was recommended and if there are any less expensive types of crowns that would work for your situation.

For more information on how to save on dental crowns, check out our pricing information on dental crowns.

Save on a Tooth Crown Today

How Does Dental Crown Treatment Work?

Dental crown treatment often consists of the following:

  • Examination of the tooth to make sure it can support a crown
  • Preparation of the tooth by filing it down to the proper shape 
  • An impression of the tooth and its surrounding teeth is taken
  • The dentist either sends the impression to a dental lab or have an in-house lab technician make the permanent crown. During this step, the dentist typically puts a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it while the final crown is being made. 
  • Placement of the permanent crown on the tooth. This typically takes place a few weeks after the impression has been made and sent to a lab. 

While some dental offices are beginning to use same-day CEREC crowns, and you may be able to find one in your area, in most cases your treatment will follow the timeline above.

What Questions Should I Ask My Dentist About Getting a Dental Crown?

  1. Why are you recommending this particular type of crown? Dentists may recommend all-porcelain or ceramic crowns for the sake of appearance. However, they tend to be more expensive and fragile than other materials. If your tooth is in the back of your mouth, you may be able to get an all-metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal crown instead.
  2. How many years do you forsee the crown lasting?
  3. Is there ever a chance of the crown coming off? If so, are there things that can be done to help prevent that?
  4. Are there other things that I should know about how to take long-term care of the crown?
  5. Are there questions that I should be asking that I haven’t thought of?

Natasha is 1Dental’s managing editor and copywriter, focusing content on dental and health news, advice and tips straight from the experts. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has since been a book editor and now copywriter and managing editor on dental and health. You can find her on Twitter and all of 1Dental’s social networks.

  1. Wow, I didn’t now that dental crowns can also be made out of metal. I’d like to find a good same-day dental crown service because I’m thinking about focusing more on my oral health in the coming months. Being able to get a dental crown might be necessary for one of my damaged molars.

  2. It was reassuring to read that dentists make impressions of your teeth first before making dental crowns. This helped alleviate my fears about them and how they might come loose or will not fit your teeth exactly the way they should. Reading your article has given me more confidence about finding a dental treatment office that can get me the dental crowns I need to fix my cracked teeth.

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  3. My biggest problem with crowns is that some times the tooth base under the crown develops a cavity, is not as strong since a root canal was performed before the crown, and possible effects of gum disease reducing the longevity of the crown. The crown’s life, although somewhat dependent on preventive measures, will eventually loosen or cause other dental problems affecting partial dentures, etc. $$$
    It may be more efficient to replace the tooth/teeth with one of the various options.

    • That is an interesting point. Possibly it will depend on how well the root canal was done.

      My husband had a root canal and crown put on, but a few years later he experienced a tooth abscess in that tooth. We were fortunate to find an awesome dentist who accepted the Dental Access Plan by Aetna who was able to drill around the existing crown and fix the tooth.

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