Questions to Ask Your Dentist Before Getting Dental Crowns

Crowns Phoenix, AZ

Dentists use crowns to treat teeth that no other type of dental restoration can fully restore. The reasoning behind this is simple: a dentist always chooses the most conservative treatment option that can deliver a good long-term outcome. Crowns are not the type of restoration that you can label as conservative.

Getting crowns or dental caps is a big decision, whether you need them for cosmetic or oral health reasons. To help you get an idea of what you are signing up for, you should ask your dentist a few questions.

How crowns work

The dental crown or dental cap is a restoration that acts as a sheath for a vulnerable tooth. It looks like the visible part of a healthy natural tooth, except that it is hollow. The hollow space on the inside of the crown takes the exact shape of the tooth it covers, which allows it to fit snugly over said tooth.

To achieve this perfect fit, the dentist takes the following steps when restoring a tooth with a dental cap:

  • Where necessary, they address existing problems in the tooth. This often involves removing tooth decay or performing a root canal
  • The dentist then removes some enamel from the tooth to make room for the crown
  • They take an impression of the tooth, to capture its new shape. This mold is what the dentist uses to create a custom dental cap
  • If the dentist can fabricate the crown in-house, they do so and fit the patient with the crown on the same day
  • Most dentists will send the mold to a dental lab and request a crown. In the meantime, the patient goes home with a temporary restoration as they wait for the permanent one
  • When the dentist receives the crown from the dental lab, they call their patient in for a second procedure and install the crown

The part where the dentist removes some enamel from the tooth points to a permanent, irreversible procedure. In light of this fact, here are some questions a patient needs to ask:

1. Can a patient see a mock-up of their future smile?

Yes, they can. Dentists will use a physical or electronic simulation to show their patients what the result of their treatment should look like.

2. How long does the process take?

Dentists with computer-aided design and manufacturing equipment can complete the entire process in a single procedure. Those that rely on a dental lab will have a wait time of one to three weeks between tooth preparation and the placement of the crown.

3. Does the procedure hurt?

No, it does not. Dental procedures happen under local, IV, or general anesthesia. Also, patients who experience anxiety at the dentist’s office may be candidates for sedation dentistry. Any discomfort the patient feels after the procedure is easy to manage with pain medication, which the dentist will prescribe.

4. What is the lifespan of a dental crown?

Dental crowns are sturdy and very durable. With proper care, they can last anywhere from 20 years to a lifetime.

5. What does it take to maintain a crown?

Taking care of dental caps is as easy as taking care of natural teeth. Brush twice a day at a minumum, or after every meal. Floss at least once and be thorough. Also, adopt a healthy diet free of excess sugars and acids. Do this for the sake of the underlying tooth (and the rest of the teeth). Avoid hard foods and objects that could break the crown and the rest of the teeth. Last of all, visit the dentist for routine checkups.

Dental crowns could be your ticket back to healthy teeth

Make an appointment with our dentist to find out the best way to restore the health and function of your teeth. Our dentist is happy to provide an in-depth diagnosis of your teeth and recommend the best course of treatment for you. They will let you know if dental crowns are your best bet.

Request an appointment here: or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at (602) 362-7061 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.

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