Dental Crowns for Dogs

A small brown dog with black nose and healthy white teeth

Dental Crowns for Dogs

What are dental crowns for dogs?


A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a tooth in a human or veterinary dental patient. Dental crowns can either be permanent or temporary. In humans, dental crowns may be made from a variety of materials such as porcelain, ceramic, resin, metal or some combination and may be made in a color to match the other teeth. However, dental crowns for dogs are almost always made of a metal alloy that is strong enough to withstand a dog’s bite force, which is many times greater than that of a human.


A crown on the left upper fourth premolar

A metal crown on the left upper fourth premolar


Why might a dog get a dental crown?


The most common time that a Board-Certified Veterinary Dentist™ may recommend a crown is after root canal treatment has been performed on a tooth that has been fractured. The crown acts to provide protection to the tooth to prevent further wear or damage, particularly if the behavior that caused the tooth fracture (such as aggressive chewing or cage biting) cannot be eliminated. Crowns may also be placed preventatively on teeth that have defects in the enamel (the hard outer surface of the tooth) or significant wear making them more prone to fracture.


Which teeth can get crowns?


The most common teeth to get crowns are canine (fang) teeth. The upper fourth premolars and lower first molars are the biggest chewing teeth in the dog and are often crowned as well. Although technically possible to put crowns on other teeth, this is not commonly done.


metal crowns on a left lower canine

Metal crown on a left lower canine


What happens when a dog gets a crown?


Dental crowns are always custom-made to fit your dog’s tooth exactly, which means that getting a crown requires two anesthetic procedures. During the first procedure, which is often immediately following root canal treatment, your dog’s veterinary dentist™ will remove a small amount of enamel all around the surface of the tooth to make space for the crown to sit on the tooth without causing abnormal contact with the other teeth nearby. Next, a mold of the tooth will be taken using a special molding material. The mold will be sent away to a crown lab, where the metal crown will be manufactured. A second procedure is required to glue the crown on, which typically occurs within 2 weeks of the initial procedure.


How long do crowns last?


In most cases, the metal crown will last for the life of the dog. However, it is always possible for a crown to fall off, or that the remaining tooth could break at the root if the dog engages in inappropriate chewing, gets into a fight with another dog or sustains some other kind of trauma. Never allow your dog to chew on rocks, antlers, hard nylon bones or anything harder than you can indent with your thumbnail. Daily toothbrushing and regular monitoring are recommended to keep the tooth as healthy as possible and catch any problems early. 


Photo from Pixabay by Incygneia