A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth — to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
1. To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of cracked tooth
2. To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
3. To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
4. To hold a dental bridge in place
5. To cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth
6. To cover a dental implant
What Types of Crowns Are Available?
Permanent crowns can be made from all metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
1. Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, other alloys (for example, palladium), or a base-metal alloy (for example, nickel or chromium). Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.
2. Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.
3. All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
4. All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide the best natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.
5. Temporary versus permanent. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office whereas permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by a lab.
Bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth. Your existing teeth are used to literally create a bridge to cross the area where your tooth is missing. Bridges are made from gold, metal, alloys, or porcelain to ensure that they are strong and durable.
The process of creating a bridge begins by creating abutments out of your existing teeth where the bridge will be attached. The existing teeth are recontoured to provide a base for the bridge. After the abutments have been created, a mold is taken of the area which is sent to a dental lab. The lab is able to use the mold to create a bridge that will fit properly and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible. The bridge consists of two crowns on either end to place on the abutments and a pontic, which is the new tooth that replaces your missing tooth.
We will fit you with a temporary bridge while we wait for the lab to craft your permanent bridge. This will protect the abutments and the exposed gum areas and look more appealing than having a missing tooth. When the permanent bridge has been created, you will have a follow up visit to set the bridge. It will be placed on the abutments and the dentist will then use an adhesive to make sure that the bridge is set.
The bridge may take a little while to get used to, but after a few days it should feel like you have your own teeth back again. You should eat soft foods for the first few days after having your bridge placed. After the initial phase, you will be able to eat whatever you want with no issues.
If you are missing a tooth you should strongly consider having it replaced. Besides the aesthetic disadvantage of missing a tooth, it could also cause structural changes to your mouth and jaw, as well as making it difficult to eat or speak properly. Set up an appointment today to restore your smile.