A dental crown is used to “cap” a tooth that has been damaged due to a large cavity, fracture, or crack. Most importantly a crown strengthens the tooth and allows it to remain functional. A crown is permanently cemented or bonded to the existing tooth structure and once placed can only be removed by a dentist. There are several different materials that can be used to fabricate a crown including but not limited to: porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, gold, all ceramic.
Your Dentist to may recommend a crown to:
- Restore a tooth that has 3 or more surfaces decayed or missing
- Protect a tooth after root canal treatment
- Restore a dental implant
- As support for a removable prosthesis
- Improve the esthetics of a discolored or abnormally shaped tooth
Full Porcelain (All ceramic)
Full porcelain crowns offer a very esthetic solution. These are the most common type of crowns used today. The disadvantages of porcelain crowns are that they are abrasive to the opposing dentition and they are brittle compared to porcelain fused to metal or full metal. Full porcelain crowns are often appropriate options for teeth in the front that are visible in a your full smile.
Full metal crowns offer the highest strength and longevity. They are also very resistance to wear and are thus good options for the molars. Another benefit of a full metal crown is that it requires only a minimum amount of removal of existing tooth structure.
A porcelain-fused-to-metal crown offers the combined benefits of the two materials. It is durable but also a good esthetic option. The crown is coated in porcelain while the underlying layer is made of metal. The one disadvantage of this material is that it requires more removal of natural tooth structure and is still not as esthetic as a full porcelain crown.
If is deemed necessary to receive a crown by your dentist, a conversation will be had about the different types of materials that are available and the best treatment option for you. Your dentist will determine this by analyzing your bite, bone structure, and gum health. The crown will typically consist of two visits: one visit to prepare the tooth to receive the crown and one visit to cement the lab-fabricated crown.