Dental crowns are a common dental restoration treatment, which are necessary when a cavity threatens the overall health of a specific tooth. A tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth or dental implant, the dental crown is designed to restore the function, shape, size, strength and appearance of the tooth. There are numerous types of materials used for crowns as well as various reasons a crown may be required. Once it is in place, if a crown is properly cared for it will typically last for an average of 15 years. However, crowns can last for up to 50 years or more with adequate oral hygiene by the patient.
Dental crowns encase the entire visible portion of a tooth, from the top of the tooth up to the gum line. While they can be a relatively costly procedure, they are a great preventative treatment that will enable you to strengthen your tooth, keeping you from needing to receive a dental implant down the road. Understanding what exactly a dental crown is, as well as why they are needed and what the various types of crown materials are, will give you a better handle on why you may be in need of one.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Your tooth is comprised of the root and the crown, in the most stripped down definition. For those who have healthy gums and teeth, a tooth’s roots are covered by the gum and bone. The visible part of the tooth is called the ‘clinical crown’, and this is the portion of the tooth that may require a restoration or dental crown. Most crowns use indirect methods of restoration, which allows the dentist to use strong restorative materials to improve the overall appearance and strength of a tooth. Dental crowns are permanently bonded and cemented by Dr. Nishimura and will require dedicated oral hygiene and care from there on out.
When Are Dental Crowns Needed?
There are a multitude of reasons why you may be in need of a dental crown at our clinic, including the following:
- To restore and protect a tooth that is broken, decayed, cracked or worn down
- To support a tooth after an intensive dental treatment, such as a large cavity filling or root canal
- To cover a dental implant
- To hold a dental bridge or other prosthetic device in place
- To improve the appearance of your smile and mouth by closing spaces between teeth or by improving misshapen or discolored teeth
Additionally, dental crowns may be required for children in certain circumstances. They are primarily used on baby teeth in order save a tooth that will not benefit from or support a filling or protect the teeth of a child who is at high risk for tooth decay.
Types of Dental Crowns
Crowns are a permanent dental treatment that can be made from numerous materials, including stainless steel, metal (gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin or ceramic.
- Ceramic – ceramic or all-porcelain crowns are the best option when trying to match the natural color of your teeth and are a good option for patients with metal allergies. Ceramic or all-porcelain is a good option for front teeth
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal – these types of crowns allow the dentist to match the color of the crown to your adjacent teeth. However, porcelain crowns are more susceptible to breaks or chips and the metal underlining may show through as a dark line. They are a good choice for front or back teeth
- Metals – metal crowns are strong and long-lasting, and are often recommended for back teeth where the teeth do more forceful biting and chewing. These types of crowns rarely break or chip and require minimal removal of the tooth structure. It is also one of the least expensive options, but be sure to check with your doctor, as allergic reactions are prevalent
- Stainless steel – used as a temporary protector while the permanent crown is being constructed from another material. This type of material is often used on children’s teeth because they can be put in place in one visit and is more cost-effective than other crown options
Dental crowns are a great way to save and strengthen a tooth, and there are many different options that may differ from patient to patient. It is important to make sure you are aware of any allergies and always discuss your concerns and options with your dentist before moving forward.