A dental crown is a prosthetic, tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a prepared tooth to restore its shape, size, structure and color. When successfully placed, dental crowns completely cover the portion of the tooth above the gumline.
What crowns are used for
Crowns are used for a variety of purposes. The main goal of these prosthetic caps is to protect a tooth from further damage or decay. They can also be used to protect weakened teeth (like those that have received root canal treatment). If a tooth is already broken or severely worn down, a crown can be used to restore it as well.
Furthermore, crowns are often used to improve the appearance of teeth. Teeth that have large fillings, deep discoloration or are misshapen can be restored with dental crowns. The use of crowns for purely cosmetic reasons is not uncommon. Most crowns are meant to last decades with proper care.
Types of crowns
Although some crowns are more popular than others, there are many options. There is a type of crown that works for each budget and lifestyle.
Porcelain is a unique material that has been used in dental restorations for decades. This glass-based material is strong, lifelike and mimics the opacity of a natural tooth better than any other material. All-porcelain crowns, often called ceramic crowns, provide the best color match out of any other option. These crowns tend to be more expensive than their counterparts, as they offer the most advantages.
Porcelain crowns are best suited for those who do not want a disruption in their smile, and for patients with metal allergies. All-porcelain crowns are by far the most popular and widely used in cosmetic dentistry treatments today. These crowns can be completely customized –– from the exact shade of color to the gradient of transparency.
Metal crowns are usually made from a mixture of metals that mimic the hardness of natural teeth. Gold, platinum or chromium alloy metals tend to be the most popular metals. These crowns are the sturdiest of the bunch, and tend to last the longest as well. However, their appearance is not much of a selling point. The metallic surface is a stark contrast against the rest of the teeth, and can make for an unsightly distraction in the smile. This is why they are most commonly used on the back molars rather than front-facing teeth.
These can be color matches to adjacent teeth, just like porcelain crowns while having the strength of metal crowns. However, more wearing will occur to the opposing tooth when using this crown. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns also tend to have a more solid appearance to them, and will still stand out from the rest of the teeth. The porcelain portion can still chip off, and the metal rim can often show at the gumline.
As the least expensive option, resin crowns better mimic the appearance of a natural tooth than porcelain-fused-to-metal. However, resin dental crowns are more likely to fracture and therefore have the shortest lifespan out of all other crown types.
A type of crown for everyone
Whether your goal is to restore the appearance of your tooth or protect it from future damage, we have got you covered. A dental crown can improve the appearance of your smile and bring back the functionality of your bite.
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