A cemented crown is a cap for a tooth that has been worn down, broken, or otherwise needs attention. The procedure for a cemented crown is relatively short and simple, and there are usually few complications.
An alternative to a cemented crown is a screw-retained crown. This type is screwed into an implant rather than cemented onto a natural tooth.
If your dentist tells you that you need a crown, be sure to discuss your options and which type of crown makes the most sense for your dental needs and your budget.
Cemented crowns restore the strength and natural appearance of teeth. A cemented crown looks like the top part of a natural tooth and is meant to provide support while blending in with the rest of your teeth.
Sometimes, a crown is needed to hold a dental bridge in place. This type of crown is held in place with cement and covers the visible part of the tooth.
Metal and gold crowns are metallic in color. These are generally used for molars, which aren’t highly visible like front teeth. In addition to metal, cemented crowns can be made of several types of materials, including:
- all-ceramic or all-porcelain
The American College of Prosthodontists reports that about 2.3 million crowns are made every year in the United States. Some people may never need a crown, but many will require one or more in their lifetime.
If you need a dental crown on the remains of a natural tooth, your only choice is a cemented crown. If you have an implant, you may have the option of a cemented crown or a screw-retained crown.
Screw-retained crowns have a tiny screw at the bottom that fits into an access hole drilled into an implant. A dental implant is a metal post that replaces a tooth root once the root has been surgically removed.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.
A cemented crown doesn’t require a screw access hole, so it looks more natural than a screw-retained crown.
Cemented crowns also tend to hold up better against resistance, with the porcelain being less likely to fracture compared to a screw-retained crown. This means they may look better longer than crowns that are screwed into an implant.
Screw-retained crowns are easier to remove if they are damaged or there is a problem with the implant.
Cemented crowns can be much more difficult to remove, but newer methods and tools have been developed to make the procedure easier and safer.
Cracks or other problems can occur in both types of crowns.
Cemented crowns, on the other hand, caused more biological problems, such as tissue inflammation and bone loss. Inflammation is usually triggered by a reaction to excess dental cement, but placement methods are improving to ensure complete removal of excess cement.
Placing a crown on a rear molar is challenging under any circumstance. With the additional dental work required for a screw-retained crown, a cemented crown is usually easier for these teeth.
Because there is less lab work and fewer parts, a cemented crown is significantly cheaper than a screw-retained crown.
Your dentist may discuss such considerations, but feel free to ask about your crown options if your dentist doesn’t mention them.
You should also get a second opinion if you feel your dentist isn’t providing you the answers you want.
Keep in mind that a tooth that has decayed significantly or become badly damaged may not be able to support a cemented crown, so listen to your dentist’s explanation of why one crown may be the best or only option.
Among the most common reasons for getting a crown is to prevent a weak or cracked tooth from breaking.
Other conditions that may warrant a cemented crown include:
- covering a tooth that has a large filling and little remaining tooth
- securing a dental bridge
- improving the look of discolored or crooked teeth
- covering replacement tooth roots called dental implants
- covering the missing portion of a tooth that has had a root canal
If you have regular dental examinations, your dentist may show you teeth that could benefit from a crown.
These are often not emergency situations, but addressing dental issues that could lead to health complications later on should still be a priority.
When you are ready to have a crown, here’s the initial procedure your dentist will do to prepare you for a cemented crown:
- A local anesthetic will be used to numb the affected tooth.
- Your dentist will file and shape the tooth so it will be a good fit for a crown.
- Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth using a soft, putty-like material. Your dentist will also try to match the color of the teeth near the crown’s location.
- A temporary crown may be placed on the tooth until the permanent crown is ready.
This is all that is typically done in the first visit. Crowns are then made in a laboratory using the impression taken in the dentist’s office.
Once the crown is ready, you’ll have your second visit to the dentist. Your dentist will cement the crown in place (after the temporary crown is removed).
The entire process to put on a cemented crown usually takes a couple of hours. There’s typically little pain or discomfort once you’re done.
Expect to wait about an hour or so after receiving a crown before you eat again. After that, no special care is needed, other than good dental hygiene — brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly.
You’ll also be advised to avoid biting down on hard foods with a crown. Crowns can chip or crack with enough wear and tear.
Without a crown, a cracked tooth might break completely, affecting the health and appearance of your mouth.
Crowns can also help prevent tooth decay and infection. Tooth decay or cracked teeth that aren’t treated can lead to tooth loss and pain as well as raise your risk of gum disease, associated with bone loss and heart disease.
Securing a cracked or worn tooth with a cemented crown can brighten your smile and improve your chewing and other aspects of dental health.
The location of the crown may determine the type of crown you choose and the material involved.
If you feel one or more of your teeth could benefit from a crown, talk with your dentist. The earlier you address dental problems, the fewer complications you’re likely to experience down the road.