Dental Crowns

Dental Crowns

A crown is a cover or “cap” your dentist can put over a tooth. The crown restores the tooth to its normal shape, size, and function. A crown can make the tooth stronger or improve the way it looks.

A dental crown, also known as a dental cap, is designed for tooth restoration. A crown is designed to encircle or cap a tooth or dental implant. The two main purposes of a crown it to improve the way a tooth looks or to help make a tooth stronger.

Why should someone consider a crown?

  • If there is a cavity that is too large for a filling
  • A crown will protect and restore a tooth tt is had root canal treatment
  • If a tooth is worn down, cracked or weakened
  • To cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth to improve ones smile
  • To protect a weak tooth from cracking or breaking

Placing a crown

A crown usually required two steps, two dental visits.

  • During the first visit the tooth is prepared by removing the outer portion and any decay.
  • An impression is then created to provide a model for the crown.
  • A temporary crown may be provided while waiting for the permanent crown. While using the temporary crown the tooth may be sensitive to cold and hot and one will be advised to avoid sticky foods and chewing gum while waiting for the permanent crown.
  • Once the crown arrives it is adjusted to the mouth and then permanently cemented into place.
a model showing how a crown would fit on a tooth

Materials that make up a crown, two types; metal or ceramic.

Metal crowns are made from a metal alloy and there is a variety of options. Your decision on which alloy to use might depend on:

  • Cost
  • Location and function of the tooth
  • Your preference
  • The color or shade of the tooth
  • Gum tissue position
  • How much tooth shows when you smile

The American Dental Association has three groups or categories for the alloys:

  • High-Noble
  • Noble
  • Base Metal

High-Noble and Noble alloys are usually based on alloys of gold, not in the purest form as that would be too soft. With the gold alloy there could be copper, zinc, indium, nickel, platinum or palladium. Gold crowns are generally used for posterior teeth for aesthetic reasons. They are very strong and requires minimal tooth preparation. They also wear like enamel so they won’t’t cause wear on teeth that are around them.

Base-metal alloys are not usually made for full metal crowns, more often used as as part of metal-ceramic crowns. They are stronger and harder than the high-noble or noble alloys and can be use in thinner sections.

Ceramic crowns is the other option with four styles.

  • Silica based ceramics have a high glass content that enhances the look to appear the natural color of the teeth it surrounds. But they do lack in strength.
  • Alumina is created through the process where particles of a slip are brought to the surface of a dental die by an electric current, thereby forming a precision-fitting core greenbody in seconds. Margins are then trimmed and the greenbody is sintered and infiltrated with glass. Glass-infiltrated alumina has significantly higher porcelain bond strength over CAD/CAM produced zirconia and alumina cores without glass.
  • Zirconia is a hard ceramic that is used as a strong base material inn many full ceramic restorations. This is the hardest know ceramic in industry and won’t damage with usage.
  • Monolithic Zirconia crowns are opaque in appearance, very strong and often used on front teeth.
  • Metal-ceramic crowns are a hybrid style and the metal base is usually a metal alloy.
  • Like natural teeth, crowns can break and the tooth underneath could get cavities.
before after pictures of dental crowns on a person

To take care of a crown:

  • Brush twice e a day and make sure to clean well between teeth
  • Avoid chewing hard foods, hard objects like pencils and ice
  • Seek out products the the ADA seal for standards for safety and effectiveness
  • Be sure to have your regular exams and professional teeth cleanings

Concerns about crowns:

  • The area of the mouth might be sensitive when the anesthesia wears off, especially to hot and cold items. You may need to change to a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
  • Chipped crown can happen. If it is small a resin composite can be used to repaid the chip. If the chip is extensive the crown might need to be replaced.
  • Sometimes the cement washes out from under the crown causing it to be loose. This could also allow for decay on the tooth, you should call us right away.
  • If a crown falls off make sure to clean the tooth area and the crown. You may be able to temporarily put it back in place with dental adhesive found in stores. You should call us right away to discuss options to fix the crown.
  • Because of the metals there could be an allergic reaction to the crown, but this is very rare.
  • Dark line at the gum line, this is normal. It is just the metal of the crown showing through.

Crowns are not the answer for all tooth problems, if you have any questions or would like a consultation, please give us a call.