Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Crowns
crown (often called a cap) fits over and replaces the
entire part of a
decayed tooth above the gum line. It encases the tooth
and becomes the tooth's new outer surface.
You may need two or more visits to your dentist to
repair a severely decayed tooth with a crown.
Crowns may be made of porcelain or a metal base covered with a thin
layer of ceramic that matches your teeth and looks like a normal, healthy
tooth. Crowns for the teeth in the back of the mouth may be made of
During your first visit, your dentist will take out the decay and
make an impression of your teeth to create a mold used for making the crown.
Your dentist will:
If you need a second visit, your dentist will:
Your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the
anesthetic wears off. To avoid injuring
your mouth, be careful not to chew on your numb lip or cheek.
A crown is used to:
Dentists sometimes use crowns after
root canal treatment to seal the tooth and prevent it
A crown will work just like a healthy tooth.
Crowns sometimes come loose or wear out over time. So you may need to get a crown
cemented again or replaced.
If tooth decay is right next to the pulp, the pulp may not be
strong enough to make healthy
dentin, which surrounds and protects the pulp. If this
happens, your dentist or
endodontist may have to remove the pulp, or an
oral surgeon may have to remove the
If you have certain heart problems, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before a dental procedure. Some procedures can cause bacteria
in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of
the body. The antibiotics lower your risk of getting an infection in your heart called endocarditis. For more information, see People Who Need Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis and Procedures That May Require Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis.
If the decay is near the pulp, your dentist may need to do a root canal before placing a crown. If the tooth cannot be fixed, it may need to be taken out (extracted). Then a bridge or implant can be placed. If the pulp dies after you get a crown, you
will need a root canal to remove the dead pulp.
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
Current as of:
June 7, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.