A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” positioned over a tooth to restore its shape and size, as well as its strength and appearance.
When cemented in place, crowns fully encase the visible portion above and below the gum line.
Why Do I Need a Dental Crown?
The following circumstances can necessitate the use of a dental crown:
- To prevent a weak tooth from breaking (for example, due to decay) or to keep sections of a cracked tooth together
- To repair a tooth that has already been damaged or badly worn down.
- When there isn’t much tooth left, a large filling can cover and protect a tooth.
- It can also be used to keep a dental bridge in place.
- To conceal a dental implant or conceal a misshapen or badly discoloured tooth
- to make a cosmetic adjustment.
What Kinds of Crowns Are There?
Permanent crowns are available in stainless steel, all-metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all-ceramic materials.
- Stainless steel crowns are used on permanent teeth mainly as a temporary measure. While a permanent crown is made from another material, the crown protects the tooth or filling. A stainless steel crown is sometimes used to cover a primary tooth prepared for it in infants. The crown protects the tooth from further decay by covering it fully. The crown naturally falls out of the primary tooth as it is extracted to make room for the permanent tooth. Stainless steel crowns are often used for children’s teeth because they do not require frequent dental appointments and are thus less expensive than custom-made crowns and the prophylactic dental treatment required to preserve a tooth without a crown.
- Metals used in crowns include gold or platinum alloys with a high gold or platinum content and base metal alloys (for example, cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium alloys). Metal crowns are the most resistant to biting and chewing forces and are likely to last the longest in terms of wear. Metal crowns are also unlikely to crack or split. The biggest disadvantage is the metallic hue, as well as the high price of gold. Metal crowns are a good option for molars that are hidden from view.
- Dental crowns made of porcelain-fused-to-metal can be colour-matched to your natural teeth (unlike metallic crowns). However, as opposed to metal or resin crowns, this crown form causes more wear to the opposing teeth. The porcelain portion of the crown may also chip or crack. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, as compared to all-ceramic crowns, appear the most natural. However, the metal underneath the crown’s porcelain will sometimes show through as a dark line, especially near the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns are suitable for front or back teeth and long bridges where the metal is needed for support.
- Dental crowns made entirely of resin are less costly than other crown varieties. However, unlike porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, they deteriorate over time and are more susceptible to fractures.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns have a better natural colour fit than any other crown style and may be better for people who are allergic to metals. Front and back teeth will also benefit from all-ceramic crowns.
- Permanent vs temporary. Temporary crowns are manufactured in the dentist’s office, while permanent crowns are usually made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are typically made of acrylic or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration while a permanent crown is being made in a lab.