The Importance of Dental CrownsA dental crown, also known as a cap, is an artificial replacement for that part of the tooth that is above the gum line.
A crown replaces most of the tooth enamel and typically covers the entire visible portion of a tooth in order to restore its shape and size, strength, function, and/or to improve its appearance. A crown is permanently cemented into place over a tooth in order to provide support when there is substantial decay, fracturing, a defective filling, or when there is no longer sufficient tooth structure remaining to place a filling.
Also, there are many instances in which patients have unexplained discomfort or pain emanating from heavily filled back teeth, which is usually due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Placing crowns on these teeth alleviates the pain and allows a return of full dental function for these teeth.
In the front teeth, older and larger fillings can both weaken these teeth and cause appearance problems due to chipping or staining. Porcelain crowns may be the most suitable option for these teeth.
In addition, many teeth that have undergone root canal therapy (especially back teeth) are now weaker and more prone to fracture and must have crowns placed on them in order to provide proper protection, function, strength, and support.
Key Benefits of a Dental Crown
- Protects a weak or decayed tooth from breaking or fracturing
- Covers and supports a tooth containing a large filling restoration when there is insufficient tooth structure
- Restores an already broken tooth
- Covers a misshaped or severely discolored tooth
- Holds a bridge in place
- Covers a dental implant
Materials Used for Making Permanent Crowns
- An All Metal Crown consists of several types of special metal alloys such as gold, platinum, and palladium. The main disadvantage of this type of crown is its metallic color; therefore, they are normally fabricated for back teeth (molars) that cannot be seen visually. Despite its esthetic limitations, an all metal crown is an extremely durable and long-lasting restoration because it is very resistant to tooth wear, it can withstand biting and chewing forces very well, and only very rarely does it chip or fracture.
- Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal Crowns contain a very strong metal substructure to which tooth-colored porcelain is fused. This type of crown can be matched to the color of your adjacent teeth. These crowns are durable and very esthetic and are a good choice for front or back teeth.
- All Porcelain (Ceramic) Crowns contain no metal and are made of only ceramic materials that give them the ability to create a more beautiful and natural smile. Procera and Empress are two types of all porcelain crowns that exhibit the most natural appearance due to their excellent aesthetics. Due to the exceptionally high biting forces placed on restorations and teeth in the back of the mouth, all porcelain crowns have been traditionally recommended only for the anterior teeth in the front “smile zone” of your mouth. However, there has been a recent introduction of the Zirconia ceramic crown, which exhibits superior aesthetics and strength enabling it to be placed on any tooth in the mouth.
How Long Does It Take To Fit A Dental Crown?
Fitting a dental crown requires two visits to our office. During your initial visit, we will remove any decay, prepare (shape) the tooth, take an impression of the prepared tooth, and fit the tooth with a temporary crown.
On the subsequent visit, we will remove the temporary crown and try the permanent crown on to verify the accuracy of its fit. An x-ray is also taken to ensure a good fit. After any necessary slight adjustments are made, the crown is then permanently cemented into place and you will now have a brand new beautiful tooth.
Care and Maintenance
Dental crowns are very durable, reliable, and long-term restorations used for teeth that are damaged or that need additional support. They can be made to look completely natural and correct functional chewing problems along with improving your smile and appearance. It is not unusual for crowns to last at least 15 to 20 years or longer.
It is important to remember that teeth with crowns are still susceptible to decay and periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings and exams are vital in order to prevent these future problems.
Want to learn more about after care? Click on Home Instructions for Dental Crowns