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Dental Crowns

A weak or damaged tooth can cause an array of issues for your smile and oral health alike. Biting function in the affected region can become uncomfortable, or even painful, and the impaired tooth can face a greater risk of bacteria buildup, decay, and infection. If you have a damaged tooth, dental crowns are considered a steadfast solution to repair a wide range of dental problems, including cracks and/or deterioration of the tooth structure caused by decay. These restorations are placed for countless patients every day to protect the tooth and restore pain-free biting function. At our Encinitas practice, cosmetic dentists Cathy Santone, DDS and Megan Dietz, DDS offer high-quality, metal-free crowns to treat broken teeth with more holistic and aesthetic materials than traditional restorative dentistry techniques.

What are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are strong dental coverings placed to fix and reinforce a damaged tooth while restoring the full integrity of one’s bite. Think of a dental crown as a protective “cap” that fits comfortably over your natural tooth. They can be used to strengthen individual teeth, anchor a dental bridge, support a tooth after a root canal, or top a dental implant. At any rate, dental crowns can serve a wide range of functions related to bolstering the strength of a tooth and/or protecting a damaged tooth from further harm.

How Do Dental Crowns Work?

A dental crown is crafted according to diagnostic impressions taken of your mouth and bonded over your tooth using a durable dental cement. Dental crowns are designed to look and feel entirely natural, with our dentists’ use of high-quality ceramic allowing the crown to bear a significant resemblance to your real tooth. In turn, dental crowns can blend in with your smile without looking odd or out of place. These restorations offer many other benefits, including:


During your appointment, diagnostic data of your tooth and mouth will be sent to a dental laboratory, where your dental crown will be created to achieve a perfect fit. The custom-made restoration is then affixed and shaded to match your tooth color for aesthetically-pleasing results.

How Can Dental Crowns Improve My Smile?

Crowns are highly versatile restorations that can bring out the beauty in your smile. They can help treat a variety of tooth imperfections, such as discoloration, cracks, and misalignment. Due to their ability to match your smile’s unique shade, they are often incorporated into cosmetic dentistry treatments for a comprehensive smile enhancement. For instance, crowns are part of dental bridges, which can be effective replacements for multiple teeth. They are also an integral component of the dental implant process, as they are placed atop the titanium posts to mimic the appearance of natural teeth.

Are Dental Crowns Safe?

When performed by a qualified dentist, the dental crown procedure is considered very safe. In fact, this treatment is among the most common and effective dental solutions conducted around the world each day. Complications are exceptionally rare, and the procedure is not considered high-risk. Furthermore, our dentists use only metal-free crowns to ensure as safe and comfortable an experience as possible for our patients.

What are the Different Types of Dental Crowns?

In general, we either place metal-free all ceramic crowns or zirconia crowns at Encinitas Cosmetic Dentistry. These non-metal dental crowns offer a number of advantages to your smile and overall oral wellness when compared to traditional metal restorations. In addition to being a more holistic dentistry option, metal-free all porcelain crowns are bonded to reinforce the tooth and provide cosmetic results that can easily mimic the shade of adjacent teeth. Furthermore, zirconia is incredibly strong, tooth-colored, and can withstand the biting force of back molars, especially in patients who clench or grind their teeth. Our dentists will discuss the pros and cons of each dental crown material with you to help ensure you receive the highest quality of restoration for your needs.

Dental Crowns vs. Dental Implant Crowns

Crowns are essentially “caps” that are placed over the top of a broken, damaged, or worn tooth to provide structural support and/or enhanced aesthetics. They are also used to protect an existing tooth that has been treated with a root canal. They serve as a helmet of sorts to help give an existing tooth more strength. Implant crowns, by contrast, are designed to fully replace a missing or extracted tooth — anchoring to a biocompatible post called an implant that is implanted into the jawbone by an oral surgeon or periodontist. Ultimately, both crowns and dental implant crowns can help restore the functionality of your teeth. Before your procedure, we will meet with you for a consultation to discuss your options and determine the best course of action.

What is the Treatment Process for Dental Crowns Like?

The process of getting a dental crown begins with a consultation, where one of our dentists will examine your teeth, gums, and the state of your oral health to assess whether a dental crown is well-suited to address your concerns. X-rays and photographs will be taken to determine the health of the tooth beforehand. The tooth is numbed, carefully prepared, and a digital scan is taken of the tooth which is sent to a high-quality dental lab for the crown fabrication. If you have any mercury amalgam fillings in the tooth, a rubber dam or Isolite isolation system will be used to protect you while your tooth is being prepared. In the meantime, a custom temporary crown is placed to protect your tooth while your permanent crown is fabricated. ​​In a couple of weeks, you will return to the office and your final restoration will then be bonded to the tooth, protecting it and providing support for years to come.

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

Dental crowns usually last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, but their durability ultimately depends on your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits, as well as the location of the damaged tooth. Good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle can achieve results that last decades. If you tend  to clench or grind your teeth, or lead a stressful lifestyle, our dental team recommends wearing a night guard to protect your teeth during sleep.  If you play contact sports, a mouth guard is recommended to prevent a traumatic dental injury to your teeth and smile. Regular dental cleanings will increase the longevity of your dental crowns and natural teeth, and wearing a protective night guard can often inhibit unnecessary damage to crowns and prolong their lifespan.

How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?

The cost of a dental crown varies and depends on a variety of factors, including:

If desired, dental financing from CareCredit® can help make the total cost more manageable with low- to no-interest payment plans designed to accommodate virtually any budget. Please call our practice for more information about the cost of dental crowns or the CareCredit® application process.

Ready to schedule a consultation? Our cosmetic dentists can fix damaged or broken teeth with non-surgical treatments designed to restore a healthy smile and bite. Don’t hesitate to contact Encinitas Cosmetic Dentistry for more information about how we can help you achieve your dental goals.