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A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth – covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.

The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?

A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:

1. To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
2. To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
3. To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
4. To hold a dental bridge in place
5. To cover misshapened or severely discolored teeth
6. To cover a dental implant

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

On average, dental crowns last between 5 and 15 years. The life span of a crown depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your personal mouth-related habits (you should avoid such habits as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting your fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging).

Does a Crowned Tooth Require Special Care?

While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the underlying tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day-especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth.