A crown is a cover designed by your dentist to restore grossly damaged teeth back to their original shape. Crowns protect your teeth against cavity bugs and traumatic bite forces. Placing a crown restores your damaged teeth back to their original format. Crowns restore the shape and function of your teeth. They save your damaged teeth so that you can continue using them for many more years to come.
When does a tooth need a crown?
Your teeth need a crown whenever a simple filling is no longer enough to save your teeth. You can fix small to medium-sized cavities with a simple dental filling. However, more severely damaged teeth can not be restored with a filling. Placing a filling on a severely damaged tooth leaves it susceptible to further damage. You may break your tooth, develop further cavities, or even become infected. These badly damaged teeth require a crown instead of a filling. Here are a few examples of when your tooth is likely to require a crown:
Severely damaged teeth
Teeth with large cavities, deep cracks, or deep fractures typically require a crown. Large fillings can’t protect your teeth against heavy bite forces the way crowns do. Additionally, larger fillings don’t create a proper seal around these teeth, which causes bacteria to contaminate your tooth. Placing a crown on your tooth protects them against heavy bite forces and recurring cavities.
Restoring teeth with root canals
Teeth that have received a root canal almost always require a crown. During root canal therapy your dentist removes substantial tooth structure. This significantly weakens your tooth and puts it at risk of fracture. Placing a crown on root canal treated teeth helps strengthen and restore your tooth back to its original format.
Dentists frequently use crowns in cosmetic dentistry to enhance your smile. There are plenty of ways you can use crowns for cosmetic purposes:
- Cosmetic crowns are used to fix chipped and worn down teeth
- You can place a crown on discolored teeth to help match their colors
- You can close small gaps between teeth by placing crowns on them
- By placing crowns on multiple front teeth you can improve your smile and at the same time straighten your crooked teeth without the need for orthodontic treatment
Cosmetic crowns are made from a special type of ceramic. This ceramic closely resembles your tooth shape and color. Plus, they are extremely durable and can withstand your bite forces. It’s nearly impossible to tell a well-made ceramic crown apart from your natural teeth.
Believe it or not, crowns aren’t just used just to restore adult teeth. Sometimes even children’s teeth require a crown. Ever noticed kids who have metal teeth in their mouths? These are stainless-steel crowns placed to protect their baby teeth. Losing your baby teeth too early in life can lead to extensive orthodontic problems. By placing a crown on baby teeth you can save these teeth and preserve the space needed for adult teeth to erupt correctly. Plus, placing crowns allows your child to continue talking and chewing comfortably without having to adapt to the missing space.
What are dental crowns made from?
You can make dental crowns from gold alloys, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or ceramic. Here’s what you need to know about each type of crown:
Since gold is very sturdy and malleable, it makes an excellent choice for fabricating dental crowns. Gold crowns are very durable and they rarely require a do-over. Despite its many advantages, gold has fallen off in popularity in dentistry over the past few decades. This is in part due to the high cost of gold as well as the patient’s increased preference for natural-looking alternatives.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, abbreviated PFM, consist of an inner metal layer with an outer porcelain layer. The metal provides strength against bite forces while the porcelain gives your crown a natural-looking appearance. PFM crowns are capable of restoring both front and back teeth with equally beautiful results.
Ceramic crowns are sturdy, metal-free, and very natural-looking. Since ceramic is stronger than porcelain, it can handle your full bite forces without needing a metal substrate. As a result, ceramic crowns don’t have any metal on the inside the way PFM crowns do. This makes ceramic crowns more aesthetically appealing than their PFM counterpart. Ceramic crowns age very well and they maintain their natural appearance for many years to come.
What is the best type of crown?
Currently, ceramic crowns are considered to be the material of choice for most cosmetic crowns. Here are some of the reasons why ceramic is the preferred material for fabricating dental crowns:
Ceramic crowns look virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. In contrast, PFM crowns don’t always look identical to your natural teeth. PFM crowns have an inner metal layer that reflects light differently than natural teeth do. As a result, teeth with PFM crowns tend to look dimmer with a fake-looking appearance. Replacing your older PFM crowns with new ceramic crowns can enhance your smile and make it more beautiful than it already is!
Resistant to fracture
Ceramic crowns are stronger than PFM crowns. Since ceramic crowns are one piece, they are less likely to fracture under chewing pressure. PFM crowns are more likely to fracture over time as the porcelain starts to strip off from its metal substrate. If you’re a heavy tooth grinder or have heavy bite forces, you should highly consider going with a sturdy ceramic crown instead of a PFM crown.
Ceramic crowns age well and they maintain their appearance over the years. On the other hand, PFM crowns usually lose their initial appeal over time. As your gums recede, the inner metal layer starts to become exposed. This creates a purplish-bluish line where your PFM crown meets your gums. Therefore, ceramic crowns give you a much more attractive smile as compared to PFM crowns, especially when restoring your front teeth.
A final advantage of ceramic crowns is that they are easier to clean. Since PFM crowns are made from two materials, they are thicker at the margins. This causes PFM crowns to trap more bacteria and cause bleeding around your teeth. Ceramic crowns create a better seal around your teeth and are easier to maintain.
Your dentist will examine your mouth and help you decide which type of crown material is most suitable for your needs. Keep in mind that PFM crowns are still considered an excellent restorative option with plenty of implications in dentistry. PFM crowns are durable, natural-looking, and they work well for most patients. However, if you’re placing crowns in a highly aesthetic area or have other special functional demands, you might be better off going with a ceramic crown instead of a PFM crown.
Ceramic crowns come in a variety of different ceramics. These include e-max crowns, bruxzir crowns, and Lava crowns. Each type of ceramic has a different purpose. For example, e-max crowns are layered which makes them look very natural-looking. These types of crowns are a great choice for restoring your front teeth. On the other hand, bruxzir crowns are extremely sturdy and they almost never break. These are the ideal choice for patients with heavy bite forces or severe teeth grinding habits.
What is the process for receiving a crown?
Preparing teeth for a crown is a two-step process, which are:
Like most other dental visits, your crown preparation appointment starts off by numbing your mouth. Once numb, your dentist will trim your tooth down to prepare it for a crown. Your dentist will remove any decay, existing filling, and other damaged tooth structure. Then they take scans or impressions of your prepared tooth. This allows your dentist to communicate the dimensions of your tooth.
You will receive your final crown when it is ready. Some dentists use a CAD/CAM machine to make your crown in one day. Others send them out to a laboratory and deliver your crown within one to two weeks. Luckily, there are no needles involved with this appointment. Your dentist will try in your new crown. They will check your bite, evaluate your tooth contacts, and verify the color and shape of your new crown. Your dentist will cement your crown using a strong glue and your crown procedure is now complete. Be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions and avoid eating on that tooth until the cement has settled.
Dental crowns for your teeth
If you’re in need of a new crown, you must find a dentist near you. Schedule a consult to have your teeth evaluated to see if you’re in need of a crown today. Use our dentist Search Engine to find a new dentist if you’re looking for one. Browse through dentist’s profiles to read their reviews, view treatment photos, find deals, or even book your appointment online. Now, let’s find you a great dentist so that you can get those damaged teeth fixed before it’s too late!