Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps placed on top of damaged teeth. The are used to cover, protect, and restore the shape, size, and strength of the teeth when fillings cannot solve the problem. When cemented firmly into place, crowns completely encase the visible portion on the tooth that lies at the gum line Dental crowns are also used to improve the appearance of teeth. They can be made out of porcelain, metals, ceramics, and resin.
Why is a dental crown needed?
- To protect a severely decayed or weak tooth or to hold together pieces of a cracked tooth
- To cover and support a tooth that has a large filling and there isn’t too much of the natural tooth left
- A broken tooth may make it hard to speak and eat normally. A crown can help restore both functionality and appearance of the tooth, while also protecting it
- To restore a tooth that is badly worn down and is broken
- To cover severely misshapen or discolored teeth, or to cover an implant
- To hold a bridge in place
- For making cosmetic changes to the tooth
- Crowns are also used in pediatric dentistry as well. For example, when a child’s baby teeth have been extensively damaged by decay, a crown might be the right choice. It is also used to protect the teeth that are at high risk for decay, especially in cases when the child cannot follow a daily hygiene routine for any reason.
What are dental crowns made of?
Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials depending on the patient’s needs, preferences, and budget. The type of crown to be used is based on the condition of the tooth, the color of the surrounding teeth, and other factors. Some common materials used for making dental crowns are:
Metals: The commonly used metals include metallic alloys with high platinum or gold content or base-metal alloys such as nickel-chromium and cobalt-chromium alloys. These crowns are sturdy and can withstand chewing and biting forces well. They are long-lasting and there is little risk of chipping or breaking. However, the metallic color looks out of place but can work well for teeth that are not visible.
Zirconia: It is a new type of dental crown that has become extremely popular over the past few years. It lasts very long and very closely resembles the look of natural teeth. So, in terms of both aesthetics and longevity, zirconia is a great choice.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal: This type of crown can be easily matched to the natural color of the surrounding teeth. However, the metal under the porcelain cap may sometimes be visible as a dark line. Also, porcelain can chip or break off, the crown may wear down the teeth opposite it that come in contact with the crown.
All-Resin: These are not expensive as the other types of crowns, but in the long term, they have a higher tendency to wear down to break compared to the porcelain-to-metal crowns.
All-Porcelain or All Ceramic: These dental crowns are considered the best from an aesthetic viewpoint because they most closely resemble the natural tooth color. Also, they make a great choice for people with metal allergies. These dental crowns are used for front teeth because of their natural look. However, they are not as strong as the metal crowns. When maintained well, they can last for years.
Stainless steel: These crowns are used only as a temporary measure to protect the tooth or filling while a permanent dental crown is made from some other material.
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