A crown (or tooth cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown is most commonly used to protect and strengthen a tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. However, crowns (especially porcelain crowns) can also be used to cap teeth for cosmetic reasons.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain crowns are the most popular, because this material resembles your natural tooth enamel very closely. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they will eventually need to be replaced.
Reasons for dental crowns:
Broken or fractured teeth
Final phase of root canal therapy
What does getting a dental crown involve?
Getting porcelain crowns usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. If you are getting your crown for cosmetic reasons, the dentist can adjust the mold slightly to ensure that the finished crown will actually look better than your original tooth. This mold will also be used to create a temporary crown, which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown has been fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these tasks are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure the crown fits properly.
At your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite is accurate. You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown and make sure it is still performing well.
Type of Dental Crowns
Ceramic These are used for restoring front teeth, and are popular in this area for their ability to blend with your natural tooth color. The crown is made of a porcelain-based material.
Porcelain-fused to metal This crown provides a stronger bond than regular porcelain because it is connected to a metal structure. It's also extremely durable.
Gold alloys This crown is a mix of gold, copper and other metals. In addition to providing a strong bond to the tooth, it doesn't fracture, nor does it wear away the tooth itself.
Base metal alloys This crown is made up of non-noble metals that are highly resistant to corrosion, and make for a very strong crown. It also requires the least amount of healthy tooth to be removed prior to fitting.
Differences Between Dental Crown Types
The sealing ability of the all-porcelain crown depends on the filling materials and the quality of the underlying tooth.
Durability is best in the gold and metal alloys crowns, whereas the all-porcelain crown tends to be less strong, more suseptible if it is put under enough pressure (if you grind your teeth at night, this may pose a problem). By contrast, the crown of porcelain fused to metal offers better durability. Both porcelain-based crowns are highly resistant to wear, but they can quickly aggravate opposing teeth if the adjacent surface becomes rough. Incidentally, the gold and metal alloys are resistant to wear and gentle on opposing teeth at the same time.
Though they sometimes become loose or fall out, crowns can last a lifetime if properly maintained. The best way to achieve this is through proper oral health. Brushing and flossing twice a day are your go-to methods of keeping your teeth healthy every morning and night. Above all, scheduling regular checkups with your dentist is key to sustaining good oral hygiene so that you won't have to choose from these different types of dental crowns.