What is a dental crown?
A dental crown refers to a prosthetic cap, which your dentist cements onto a tooth or implant. When a tooth is so badly damaged that there is little tooth remaining to support dental filling, your dentist may find it more prudent to make a crown, instead of the filling for the tooth. He can also opt to make an implant, and cap it with a dental crown for shape and structure.
A crown has various uses. It basically improves the tooth’s position, shape, function and look.
It protects a damaged tooth, keeping it from further damage. It strengthens a damaged tooth, keeping it from fracturing, breaking or chipping further. It covers a badly stained or misshapen tooth. It is also an effective way to attach bridges.
There are many types of crowns you can choose from.
Your dentist can make a permanent crown using ceramic, resin, stainless steel, porcelain fused to metal, or metal like gold or some other alloy.
A dental crown fashioned from stainless steel is usually prefabricated. Your dentist may recommend its use as a temporary measure to protect the filling or tooth while a crown made from a more aesthetically acceptable material is being made.
A parent may decide to have a child fitted with a stainless steel crown over his primary tooth to protect it from further decay. When the permanent tooth emerges, the primary tooth, with the crown on it, comes out naturally to make room for the permanent tooth. Caring for a temporary tooth with a crown made from stainless steel is considered a more cost-effective option than getting prophylactic dental care.
A metal dental crown can be made from alloy like gold or palladium or a base-metal alloy like chromium or nickel.
Metal crowns are sturdy and long-lasting. They hardly fracture or fragment. They can stand the rigors of high-pressure chewing and biting, thus, making them good options for molars. Metal crowns are easy to make. A dentist does not have to remove too much tooth structure to accommodate a metal crown. Moreover, a metal crown does not cause too much wear-and-tear to the opposing teeth. The main drawback in using a metal crown is its unappealing metallic color.
If you want a dental crown, which matches your adjoining teeth, a dental crown made from porcelain-fused-to-metal is a good option. It is a popular choice for back and front teeth.
The porcelain in this type of dental crown, however, can break or chip off easily if you are not too careful. This crown type also causes more abrasion to the opposing teeth, compared to its resin or metal counterparts. Another drawback is that in some cases, the metal supporting the porcelain can sometimes be discerned as a dark line through the porcelain. This is a risk particularly if you have receding gums.
Dental crowns made from all-resin material are less costly compared to most types of dental crowns. However, they tend to wear down more easily, too. They are more prone to cracks or breaks, than crowns made from porcelain-fused-to-metal material.
You get the best natural color from crowns made from either all-porcelain or all-ceramic material. They are also the most suitable dental crowns for individuals who are allergic to metal. Compared to porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, however, all ceramic and all-porcelain are more fragile. They also tend to wear down opposing teeth more than resin or metal crowns do.