The Process of Getting Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a common solution for restoring damaged or decayed teeth, improving both their function and appearance. If your dentist has recommended a dental crown, you might be curious about what to expect. This blog will walk you through the process, from the initial consultation to the final placement of the crown.

What are dental crowns?

Before delving into the process of getting a dental crown, it’s important to understand what dental crowns are and why they are necessary. Dental crowns are restorative devices used to cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. They are used to restore a tooth’s shape, size, strength, and improve its appearance. When a crown is placed, it fully encases the visible portion of the tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

Crowns can be made from various materials, including:

  • Porcelain or ceramic: These materials can be matched to the color of your natural teeth and are preferred for front teeth due to their natural appearance.
  • Metal alloys: These are stronger than porcelain and are recommended for back teeth where the forces of chewing and grinding are greatest.
  • Porcelain fused to metal: This combines the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain, though the metal underlying the porcelain can sometimes show as a dark line.

Crowns are typically used to:

  • Protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
  • Restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down.
  • Cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left.
  • Hold a dental bridge in place.
  • Cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth.
  • Cover a dental implant.
  • Make a cosmetic modification for aesthetic reasons.

The Dental Crown Process

1. Initial Consultation

The journey to getting a dental crown begins with an initial consultation. During this visit, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if a crown is the best option. This may involve taking X-rays to assess the extent of tooth damage and the health of the surrounding bone. Your dentist will discuss the types of crowns available (such as porcelain, ceramic, metal, or a combination of materials) and help you choose the best one based on your needs, preferences, and budget.

2. Preparing the Tooth

Once it’s decided that a crown is needed, the next step is preparing the tooth. This typically involves removing a portion of the tooth’s outer layer to make space for the crown. Local anesthesia is used to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. After the tooth is shaped, an impression of your tooth (or teeth) is taken, which will be used to create the crown. This can be done using traditional dental putty or digital scanning technology.

3. Temporary Crown Placement

Because the permanent crown is usually fabricated in a dental laboratory, a temporary crown is placed to protect the prepared tooth while your custom crown is being made. This temporary crown is made of a softer material and is not as durable as the permanent crown, so you’ll need to be careful with what you eat and how you clean around it.

4. Creating the Permanent Crown

The impression or digital scan of your tooth is sent to a dental lab where the permanent crown is made. This process can take a few weeks. The dental technicians will use the impression and the dentist’s instructions to create a crown that fits perfectly and matches the color of your surrounding teeth.

5. Final Fitting and Adjustment

Once your permanent crown is ready, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for the final fitting. Before permanently cementing the crown, your dentist will check the fit and color, making sure it matches well with your natural teeth and feels comfortable in your mouth. Any necessary adjustments are made at this stage.

6. Cementing the Permanent Crown

After ensuring a proper fit, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented onto your prepared tooth. Your dentist will use a special adhesive that bonds the crown to the tooth. Once in place, your dentist will make any final adjustments to ensure your bite is comfortable and the crown feels natural.

7. Post-Procedure Care

Following the placement of your crown, your dentist will provide care instructions. It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, to protect the health of your crowned tooth and surrounding gums. Regular dental check-ups are also essential to monitor the condition of the crown and the overall health of your mouth.


Getting a dental crown involves a series of steps designed to ensure the best fit, function, and aesthetic result. While the process may seem lengthy, the result is a durable, long-lasting restoration that improves your oral health and enhances your smile. By understanding what to expect and following your dentist’s care instructions, you can ensure the longevity and success of your dental crown.

Dr. Snehlata Kulhari

Dr. Snehlata Kulhari completed her Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS) at Government Dental College in Punjab, India and her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in Boston. She has been practicing dentistry since 2011 and has founded Smile Mantra Family Dentistry to provide dental care and education to the community of Cary, NC. Dr. Kulhari stays up to date on the latest dental research and advancements in order to offer her patients exceptional dental care. 


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