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Restore a Decayed or Damaged Tooth with a Dental Crown

When teeth are affected by decay or trauma, it compromises overall oral health. At Fairfax Family Dental Care, our doctors use dental crowns to repair your teeth and help prevent future damage. A dental crown is a custom-made restoration that fits over the entire tooth structure. Crowns can also be used in conjunction with dental implants to replace a lost tooth. For over 30 years, our team has been providing top-tier dental care for residents of Fairfax, VA, and the surrounding communities.

Am I a Candidate for a Dental Crown?

In general, those considering dental crowns must have sufficient healthy tooth structure remaining. During a consultation at Fairfax Family Dental Care, our doctors can help determine if this treatment option is right for you. You may qualify for a dental crown if you have:

  • A tooth that is chipped, broken, or fractured
  • Significant dental decay
  • A weak tooth that needs reinforcement
  • Dental erosion due to bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • A dental implant that needs to be restored

While crowns are a common restorative treatment option, they are also used for cosmetic modifications. For example, dental crowns may be used to conceal misshaped teeth. They may also be recommended when addressing intrinsic stains, or the type of discoloration that occurs deep within the tooth structure and does not respond to teeth whitening.

In most cases, dental crown placement can be completed in just two office visits.

Benefits of Dental Crowns

Due to the advanced materials used in dentistry today, crowns look and feel incredibly natural. They are crafted to blend with your surrounding teeth, so no one will ever know you have had dental work. Dental crowns have an average lifespan of five to 15 years, but with proper care and maintenance, they can last over two decades.

Close-up of an implant-supported dental crown.

Types of Dental Crowns

Crowns can be fabricated from a wide range of materials, including metal, all-ceramic, zirconia, and porcelain-fused-to-metal. Most patients at our Fairfax practice choose a tooth-colored option for optimal aesthetics. In general, there are two primary types of crowns:

  • Traditional: Used in dentistry for decades, a traditional crown slips over the affected tooth structure, offering strength and reinforcement. This type of restoration can alter the size, shape, and appearance of a natural tooth.
  • Implant-supported: Nearly identical in design, an implant-supported crown is attached to a dental implant rather than a natural tooth. To do this, a small connector post, called an abutment, must be secured to the implant after it has healed. The abutment extends slightly beyond the gum line, providing a solid foundation for the dental crown.

Your Treatment Timeline

In most cases, dental crown placement can be completed in just two office visits. During the first appointment, the doctor visually assesses the treatment site and takes x-rays or scans to establish the severity of the problem. If the dentist determines that a crown is necessary, the first step involves removing a small amount of natural enamel. This prepares the tooth for bonding and makes room for your new crown. Any damaged portions of the tooth will also be removed at this stage.

Next, impressions are taken. These are sent to a partner lab where a trained technician crafts your new restoration. Crown fabrication usually takes between two and four weeks. In the meantime, a temporary crown will likely be placed to protect the tooth from further damage. When the dental lab sends your final crown to us, we will schedule you for a second office visit. During this appointment, the doctor checks the size, shape, fit, and color of your restoration, then bonds it permanently into place using high-quality dental cement.

Recovery and Aftercare

Immediately following your dental crown placement, you may notice slight tenderness and sensitivity. These side effects are to be expected and should diminish within the first few days. Most patients are able to return to work and other normal routines right away.

While you are wearing your temporary crown, it is important to avoid hard or sticky foods that could damage or dislodge the restoration. If possible, you should chew on the other side of the mouth until your final crown is bonded into place.

Dental Crown Care and Maintenance

If you have recently had a crown placed – or if you are about to undergo the procedure – you will want to protect your investment. Here are a few tips for keeping your restoration in excellent condition:

  • Practice good oral hygiene. This is especially important if you have a dental crown or other restoration. Even though crowns are impervious to decay, the natural tooth structure underneath is still vulnerable. You should brush at least twice a day and floss between the teeth once daily. You may also wish to use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash, which can help keep harmful microbes at bay.
  • Choose non-abrasive products. Certain toothpastes are too harsh for dental crowns and can cause small scratches. Choose a non-abrasive gel and make sure it is approved by the American Dental Association. We encourage patients to use soft-bristled toothbrushes, since medium or hard bristles can damage your crowns, as well as your natural teeth.
  • Consider wearing a mouth guard. If you suffer from bruxism, it is important to protect your dental crown from damage. A custom oral appliance cushions the teeth and helps prevent breakage.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Whether you have dental crowns or not, routine dental cleanings and exams are essential for long-term oral health. Some patients do well with biannual visits, but others may require more frequent appointments. Our team will talk to you about how often you should visit.
  • Avoid using your teeth as tools. Though it is tempting to use your teeth to open packages or tear tags off of clothing, it is damaging to your oral health. Patients should break these harmful habits before having a dental crown placed.

Contact Fairfax Family Dental Care

If you have a tooth damaged by decay or trauma, a crown could be an excellent solution for you. To learn more about dental crowns, or any of the other cosmetic or restorative options we offer, schedule an appointment today. You can contact our office online or call Fairfax Family Dental Care at (703) 385-0303.

Fairfax Office

Open Today 7:00am-7:00pm All hours

10611 Judicial Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030

Directions (703) 385-0303

"Let me tell you, as much as I fear dental work, Fairfax Family Dental Care has put my mind at ease with my fears. So, if you are like I was when it came to dental fears, do not worry. This is the place to go to finally take care of your dental problems." - Tim R.

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