Are you on the hunt for crowns for teeth in Richmond, VA? Crowns play a crucial role in helping restore and reestablish the function of a tooth. Whether you’re dealing with a damaged, decayed, or broken tooth, crowns can help improve the look and feel of your smile. 

But what is a dental crown, how long do dental crowns last, and what should you look for when seeking crown dentistry in the Richmond, VA area? 

In this article, we cover the basics of dental crowns, from understanding what a crown is to how long it takes to get one. 

What Is A Dental Crown On a Broken Tooth? 

A dental crown is a custom-made “cap” that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance.

When a tooth is broken, significantly decayed, or has had a root canal, it can become weak and susceptible to further damage. A crown serves to protect and reinforce the compromised tooth, effectively encasing the visible portion of the tooth that lies above the gumline.

Some materials used for crowns include:

  • Porcelain or ceramic: These can be matched to the color of natural teeth and are often used for front teeth.
  • Porcelain fused to metal (PFM): This provides a stronger bond than porcelain alone and has a natural tooth-like appearance.
  • Gold alloys: They contain gold, copper, and other metals, resulting in a very strong crown that’s resistant to wear and fracture.
  • Base metal alloys: These are very strong and resistant to corrosion, and they require the least amount of healthy tooth removal prior to fitting.

What Are Tooth Crowns Made Of

Dental crowns are excellent for restoring damaged teeth and giving them a natural, healthy appearance. Here are some different materials crowns can be made from: 

  • Gold alloys: Gold crowns contain gold, copper, and other metals, resulting in a very strong crown that’s resistant to wear and fracture.
  • Porcelain: Porcelain crowns closely match the color of natural teeth and are often used for front teeth. The downside is that they are more fragile than other crown materials.
  • Ceramic: Zirconia and e.max crowns are made from durable types of ceramic and are best for individuals who grind their teeth or have high bite pressures.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM): PFM crowns are metal and porcelain fused together, resulting in a stronger and longer-lasting material than all-porcelain. 

Each crown material offers varying results and benefits. Determining what types of crowns are right for your specific case will require you to work with your dentist.

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last

Dental crowns, when placed correctly and made from quality materials, can last anywhere from five to 15 years, with some lasting decades. The type of crown material used and where it’s placed in the mouth are vital factors in a crown’s longevity. In general, gold alloy crowns last the longest, and pure porcelain crowns are most prone to chipping or breaking.

What Are Dental Caps?

A common question is the difference between a crown and a cap. In the context of dental restorations, the terms “crown” and “cap” are interchangeable. “Caps” is simply the informal term many people use to refer to a dental crown. The term “cap” comes from the idea that a crown goes over and encases the entire visible portion of the tooth.

Crown Dentistry: What Is The Dental Crown Procedure

Now that you know a bit more about what a crown is, let’s take a look at the crown tooth procedure for the average patient. Every case is different, but when you need crowns for teeth in Richmond, VA, a dentist will typically follow this process: 

Consultation and Treatment Plan

During an initial consultation, the dentist will take X-rays to assess the health of the tooth and the surrounding bone. This detailed examination helps the dentist identify any potential issues and determine the most suitable treatment plan. Based on the findings and the specific needs of the patient, the dentist will discuss and finalize the treatment strategy.

Tooth Preparation

Before placing a crown, the tooth needs to be prepared. To start, local anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient is comfortable and the tooth and surrounding gum tissue are numb. The dentist then reshapes the tooth by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin. This step creates the necessary space for the crown to fit seamlessly. Depending on the crown material selected, the amount of tooth removed may vary. In cases where there is significant tooth decay or if there’s a risk of infection or injury, the dentist might also perform a root canal.


After reshaping the tooth, the next step involves capturing an impression or mold of the prepared tooth. This is crucial as it ensures the crown will fit perfectly. Additionally, impressions of the opposing teeth and sometimes other teeth in the patient’s mouth are taken. This can be done using traditional mold techniques or more modern digital scanning methods. The impression is then sent to a dental laboratory, where the crown is specially made.

Temporary Crown Placement

The process of crafting a crown can take several weeks. To protect the prepared tooth in the meantime, a temporary crown is placed. This provisional solution is made from less durable material and is designed to last only until the permanent crown is fabricated and ready for placement.

Permanent Crown Placement

Once the lab has completed making the crown, a second appointment is scheduled. During this visit, the dentist will carefully remove the temporary crown and check the fit, color, and bite of the permanent one. It’s crucial to ensure that the crown not only looks good but also feels comfortable and functional. Finally, the dentist cements the crown into place using a robust adhesive.

Post-procedure Evaluation

The dental crown procedure doesn’t necessarily end once the crown is placed. It’s often recommended for patients to return for a follow-up visit. This appointment allows the dentist to check on the crown, confirm that the adhesive has set correctly, and ensure that the surrounding gum tissue remains healthy. Beyond the immediate post-procedure period, maintaining good oral hygiene and attending regular dental check-ups are paramount to ensure the longevity of the crown and the health of the tooth beneath. 

Learn More About Getting a Crown At Northside Dental Co.

Getting crowns for teeth in Richmond, VA is much simpler than you may think. Once you know exactly what to expect when you visit your local dentist, you’ll be feeling more confident and ready to take the next step.  

Here at Northside Dental Co., our team is proud to provide quality, compassionate dental care. We’re dedicated to helping our patients achieve healthy smiles that give them confidence for years to come—we’d love the opportunity to help you, too!  

Book your appointment online to learn more about how we help restore your smile with dental crowns in Richmond, VA.