A dental crown is a cap that covers a tooth that takes the shape of the pre-existing tooth. It restores the tooth’s shape, size, and strength, and helps to improve the tooth’s appearance.
Crowns fully encase the visible portion of the tooth, beginning at the gum line. Underneath, there is a small portion of the original tooth, including its root and nerves.
There are a few reasons why it may be recommended to get a crown on a tooth. If a tooth is particularly weak, it may be best that it is held together with a crown. This may be due to excessive grinding or tooth decay. A crown may also be recommended if you have an extremely discolored tooth, or you want to replace the outer part of a tooth with a crown for cosmetic reasons.
Types of Crowns
These are pre-made crowns that are used temporarily while a permanent crown is being produced. The stainless steel crown covers the entire tooth, protecting it from further decay. These crowns are typically used for children’s teeth because once a permanent tooth grows in, it naturally pushes the stainless steel crown out, which is a cost effective way to avoid several dental appointments and the prophylactic dental care that is needed to protect a tooth that doesn’t have a crown.
Some metals that are used in crowns may include gold alloy, palladium, nickel or chromium. Less of the tooth structure is removed when using metal crowns in comparison with other materials, meaning that tooth wear to nearby teeth is minimal. These crowns withstand daily forces, such as chewing and biting, and are typically the longest lasting type of crown. They rarely chip or break, but they are noticeable in color, so are often only used for molars that are out of sight.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
These crowns are color matched to adjacent teeth, however, they put wear on the nearby teeth. The porcelain can also break of chip off. Aside from all-ceramic crowns, these crowns look the most natural.
These are less expensive than others, however, they are prone to fractures and wear down easier than other crowns.
All-ceramic or all-porcelain
These crowns give a natural color match and are suitable for people who have metal allergies. However, because they are not as strong as other crowns, they are typically only a good choice for front teeth.
Temporary vs Permanent
Temporary crowns are made in the office, while permanent crowns are created in a lab. Temporary crowns are used as a restoration for the damaged tooth until a permanent crown is delivered by the lab.
Getting a tooth ready for a crown typically requires two dental visits. The first step involves the preparation of the tooth, the permanent crown is placed during the second visit.
Before making the crown, an injection is used to anesthetize the tooth and its surrounding area. Next, the tooth is filed down around its surface and sides to make room for the crown. If a large area of the tooth is missing, filling material will be used to build up the tooth and create a support for the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, an impression of the tooth is made to receive the crown. This is done to ensure that the crown feels natural and will not affect your bite.