Dental Crowns

If cracked, decayed, or worn teeth detract from your smile, Dr. Cindy Flanagan can restore them to their original beauty with natural-looking crowns. As one of the top Houston dentists, Dr. Flanagan and her team can help you reclaim your smile. Thousands of Americans get dental crowns each year; this treatment offers a unique blend of form and function, simultaneously enhancing the appearance of your tooth and improving its health. Dr. Flanagan is one of the most highly esteemed cosmetic dentists in Clear Lake, offering a wide array of procedures to beautify patients’ smiles. In addition, if you require a cap to replace a lost tooth, our office also offers dental implant options for patients in the Houston, TX region. Essentially, if you require a dental crown for any reason, our team can assist you.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is an artificial tooth covering that fits snugly over the portion of the tooth that extends above the gum line. The crowns we use are handcrafted in a dental lab to maintain the integrity of your unique bite, as well as accommodate your aesthetic preferences. A traditional dental crown goes directly over the remaining portion of a damaged tooth. If you have lost a tooth, or the tooth structure is so compromised that it must be removed, a dental crown can be attached to a dental implant to fully replace the tooth.

The Treatment Process

Although placing a dental cap is a major restorative procedure, it is a relatively simple process. First, Dr. Flanagan will examine and diagnose your affected tooth to determine the best course of action. For example, if you have a small cavity, a tooth-colored filling may be more appropriate. If you have an infected tooth pulp, root canal therapy will need to be performed first. In addition, some patients get dental crowns as a purely cosmetic treatment, since having a tooth-colored cap placed can instantly whiten and straighten a tooth, much like porcelain veneers. Dental crowns are a versatile restorative procedure that can be used to repair a variety of conditions.

Once Dr. Flanagan has decided that a dental crown is right for you and we’ve treated the underlying condition affecting your tooth, we will typically be able to design, fit, and place your cap in just two appointments. During the initial visit, Dr. Flanagan will shape your tooth to hold a crown (or ensure your implant is ready, if the crown will be attached to a dental implant), take a molding of your tooth (which will be used to custom-make your crown), and place a temporary prosthesis so that your tooth is covered between appointments. At the next and final appointment, Dr. Flanagan will remove the temporary cap, fix the personalized dental crown to your tooth, and thoroughly examine it to make sure it suits your smile.

After your dental crown treatment is complete, you should care for it as you do your natural teeth. Conscientious brushing twice a day and daily flossing will protect the base of your crown from bacterial growth. As always, be sure to see us at least twice a year for professional cleanings and preventive care exams.

Dental Crowns and Implants

As mentioned above, dental crowns can be attached to dental implants to replace missing teeth. Dr. Flanagan will recommend a dental implant if your affected tooth is so damaged that it cannot remain in your mouth, or if you have already lost one or more or teeth. A dental implant, accompanied by a custom dental crown, is often a much better option for lost teeth than a traditional restoration.

Essentially, a dental implant is a titanium post inserted into your jawbone, where it integrates with the natural bone tissue and forms a solid basis for all types of restorations. Dental crowns are often attached to dental implants to replace individual teeth. As an experienced implant dentist in Clear Lake, Dr. Flanagan can help you decide if this type of prosthesis is right for you. If you have missing teeth, believe you may need to get a tooth pulled, or are unhappy with your current artificial teeth, we recommend coming in for a dental implant consultation at our office.

Frequently Asked Questions

At our Clear Lake practice, we make it a priority to address all of our patients’ concerns and queries, no matter how large or small. Below, we’ve provided the answers to some of our patients’ most frequently asked questions regarding dental crowns.

Will dental insurance cover the cost of a crown or a replacement crown?

Dental insurance will usually cover at least a portion of your dental crown treatment if it is used to repair tooth damage. Insurance providers may not cover dental crowns placed for exclusively aesthetic reasons. Dental insurance typically provides the same coverage for replacement crowns as initial crowns, so long as you have had the original crown for a certain amount of time (often at least five years).

What does it mean to have a dental crown “lengthened”?

In certain cases, once we remove the decayed, infected, injured, or otherwise damaged portion of the tooth, there isn’t enough enamel and dentin left to stably hold a dental crown in place. Lengthening is a procedure that involves removing tissue to uncover more of the underlying tooth structure so that we can place a dental crown over it.

What is the best material for dental crowns?

For many years, metal dental crowns were the standard, but today, an alternative to gold or stainless steel may be better for your smile. The ideal material for your dental crown will depend on where it is being placed, your specific oral health situation, and your individual preferences. Typically, Dr. Flanagan and our team recommend ceramic, since it provides a natural look and is durable. In most cases, aesthetic ceramic is best for front teeth crowns, since these are most visible. For molars, metal crowns may be a good option, since these teeth are so far back in the mouth, but many patients still prefer ceramic to maintain a realistic appearance.

What is the average cost of a dental crown?

The price of a dental crown varies based on the details of your diagnosis, the material used to make your crown, and the custom manufacturing process; in general, dental crowns typically range from $700 to $3,000. Our Houston dental team will discuss the specific costs associated with your crown(s) at your initial consultation. Your dental insurance may cover a portion or all of your treatment expense, and you may also be eligible for financing options through our practice.

What is the recovery time for a dental crown?

Most patients recuperate very quickly after getting a dental crown. After your first appointment, your mouth will likely remain numb for several hours. As a result of the local anesthesia, you may have a swollen cheek after this procedure. Some patients also experience a sore throat after their first dental crown appointment, and your mouth may feel more sensitive for a few days after this treatment. Once Dr. Flanagan places the final dental crown, you may want to be careful about what you eat and drink on the side of your mouth where the crown was placed for a few days, but any discomfort should be minimal.

If you suffer from allergic reaction symptoms, persistent discomfort, excessive bleeding, or signs of infection, please contact our Houston practice for assistance.

How long does a dental crown usually last?

In some rare cases, a dental crown is permanent and does not require replacement. However, for most patients, dental crowns last between 10 and 15 years. You can extend the life of your restorations by maintaining excellent dental hygiene and seeing Dr. Flanagan for regular checkups (at least twice a year).

Does it hurt to get a dental crown?

While each patient is different, getting a dental crown is typically a relatively easy process. During treatment and the first appointment, your mouth may be numbed with local anesthesia. As this wears off, it may be slightly uncomfortable. You may also experience slight discomfort after having your crown placed, as your mouth adjusts to the new restoration.

I have bad breath from my dental crown. What should I do?

In all likelihood, your halitosis (bad breath) is resulting from inadequate oral hygiene. If you fail to properly brush and floss your teeth, accumulated bacteria can give your breath an unpleasant taste and smell. Teeth with dental crowns may be especially vulnerable to this, since bacteria can collect at the bottom of restorations. It’s also possible that your dental crown is in some way damaged, leaving the tooth below at risk of decay or infection. If you suffer from bad breath, we recommend you come see Dr. Flanagan for a consultation. During this visit, she will examine your mouth, diagnose the source of your halitosis, and suggest appropriate treatment.

I heard that if a crown is swallowed, abdominal pain and other uncomfortable symptoms can result. Is this true?

First of all, know that swallowing a dental crown is very rare. If your crown seems at all loose or damaged in any way, contact our office as soon as possible so that we can properly repair it. If by some circumstance you do swallow your dental crown, you may experience abdominal pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. In this very unusual situation, further treatment may be required to remove the swallowed crown. If you swallow a dental crown or any other restoration, contact us for assistance.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Houston dental office.

Do You Need a Dental Crown?

Our team would be delighted to help you! Contact us today to find out how one of Clear Lake’s top restorative and cosmetic dentists can transform your smile with this and other treatments. Fill out our online appointment form to schedule a consultation.