A dental crown may be recommended to restore function and approve the appearance of a patient’s damaged tooth. Dental crowns act as a cap that protects the enamel and improves bite strength. There are several options to achieve these enhancements.
What Is a Dental Crown?
When a cavity is too large for a filling or decay has weakened the tooth to the point a cap is needed over top, a crown may be recommended. If a larger filling is no longer doing its job, your dentist might choose to replace it with a crown. Also, patients undergoing a root canal will have the procedure finished with a crown.
Aside from tooth decay, a crown can repair a tooth that has been significantly damaged – for instance, one that’s visibly cracked – to restore bite strength and even out your smile. Additionally, crowns may correct a misaligned bite.
No matter the reason, several materials are involved in the making of a crown. Porcelain, ceramic and resin are the most common, used on their own or in conjunction with metal. Metal alloy and zirconia crowns may also be given to select patients.
Types of Crowns by Form
Dental crowns come in different forms. The right type of crown for you will depend on your condition.
As the name implies, temporary crowns are not designed to be permanent. The interim shell is attached with an adhesive to protect your tooth as your dentist places a request for a permanent crown. Once it’s ready, your dentist removes the temporary crown to securely bond the permanent fixture.
As temporary crowns can easily become dislodged, take care as you brush, floss and eat.
Traditional crowns typically require two appointments. During the first visit, your dentist examines the tooth and takes impressions and X-rays of the area to have a permanent crown constructed. Part of the tooth’s enamel will be shaved down and a temporary crown placed to protect the area.
After your appointment, the impressions and X-rays will be sent to a lab to manufacture a permanent crown. Once it’s ready, you’ll come into the office for your dentist to bond the crown and make minor adjustments.
Same-day crowns eliminate the need for multiple visits. Our Shelton office uses a computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) milling machine to create the crown and fit it to your mouth before you go home.
The full process, from taking digital images of your tooth to cementing the completed crown, takes up to four hours and you won’t have to wear a temporary crown home.
Also known as a three-quarter crown, this fixture covers part of a damaged but stable tooth. During this procedure, your dentist will remove the damaged or decayed area, reshape the rest of the tooth and add the partial crown to restore bite strength and even out your smile.
Types of Crowns by Materials
There are also several materials involved in creating dental crowns, from metal to ceramic materials.
Also referred to as gold or alloy crowns, this material offers the greatest degree of strength and durability. However, they visually stand out in a patient’s mouth. Today, metal crowns are more likely to be recommended for molars or another area experiencing extreme wear.
Most patients being fitted for a crown receive a porcelain one, as this material offers the most natural look in terms of finish, shape and color. As such, if the crown will be placed toward the front of your mouth, it will likely be porcelain.
Porcelain Fused-to-Metal Crowns (PFM) and Pressed Ceramic
These crowns present a similar format: A metal core in contact with the existing tooth, over which porcelain or ceramic covers the outside. Especially for patients with bruxism – teeth grinding or jaw clenching – this arrangement presents the best of both worlds no matter where the crown is placed. The exterior blends in better with existing teeth and the core enhances its long-term durability.
Resin crowns are the most affordable of all options listed here. Yet, the composite material wears down sooner and has a higher risk of breaking compared to porcelain and metal.
A newer option, zirconia is based on the same strength-meets-aesthetics concept as PFM crowns but uses a single material that’s less likely to show a dark line near the gums. Zirconia blends in better with your existing teeth and offers greater durability than porcelain or ceramic crowns.
Properly known as lithium disilicate, E-Max crowns are thin yet durable and aesthetically blend in with the rest of your teeth. An emerging option, E-Max crowns can be placed toward the front and back of your mouth for their combined properties.
To learn more about traditional and same-day crowns, contact us today.