A Look at Different Types of Dental Crowns

From time to time, all of us need to make a visit to the dentist and in some cases, we may have to have some work done. Most of us are familiar with hearing the “bad news” and realizing that we have to have something done to our teeth.

Fortunately, there are options available that can help us to get beyond the problem and even to get our smile back again. One of those options is a dental crown and there are actually a few different types available.

A dental crown is actually a cap and it fits over the top of an existing tooth. It completely covers the tooth that may have been damaged or perhaps even partially destroyed in order to improve the look and to bring it back to its original strength, size and appearance. Once a crown is put into place and cemented in the area, the entire tooth is going to be covered, including some of the tooth that is below the gum line.

Crowns may be needed for a wide variety of reasons and depending upon the reason, a different type of dental crown may be considered. As was mentioned, it may be to cover a tooth that is damaged or destroyed but it can also be for holding a dental bridge, for protecting the tooth that has become weak or to cover over a dental implant. Some people also have crowns put in place as a cosmetic procedure.

There are a few basic types of crowns and understanding a little bit more about them can help you to make the decision as to which is right for you. Of course, your dentist will also be in on the decision-making process.

Porcelain and metal – One of the interesting things about dental crowns is the fact that they can be made to look like your natural teeth, including matching the teeth that are next to the area. A porcelain crown that is fused to metal may be an option that is considered, although it can be a bit damaging to the teeth that are nearby. Some people have also complained about the porcelain breaking off or chipping but if you’re looking for an option that looks like your normal teeth, this is one to consider.

Metal crowns – These are not made to look like your natural teeth but rather, they are platinum, gold or some other metal color. Many people consider these for the molars because they are not easy to see but when they are in place, they provide a very strong surface for chewing.

Stainless Steel – These are a prefabricated option that is not typically used permanently. If you are having another crown made, such as a porcelain crown, the stainless steel option may be put into place in order to protect the tooth from further decay. It is a cost-effective option, however, because they can often be put into place on the initial visit.

Ceramic – There are dental crowns that are completely ceramic and they tend to be rather natural looking when they are put into place. Ceramic crowns are an excellent choice for people who are allergic to certain types of metal.

Resin – This is a rather inexpensive choice in comparison to other types of crowns but they do wear down and tend to fracture more frequently.

Temporary or Permanent – One other type that needs to be considered is if the crown is permanent or temporary. A temporary crown will typically be put in place on the initial visit but it will be removed whenever the permanent crown is back from being made at the laboratory.

What Is A Dental Crown And Who Needs One?

It’s easiest to think of a dental crown as a sort of cap for a tooth. These caps help to restore the tooth’s size and shape. Dental crowns also look like teeth, so they improve appearance. Once the dentist cements the crown in place, it will cover the visible portion of the tooth.

Who Needs Dental Crowns?

There are many reasons why dentists might suggest crowns. These are some of the most common cases that would motivate a dentist to suggest a crown:

  • * If a tooth has become so decayed that it might break, the crown can hold the parts together and protect them.
  • * If a tooth already broke, the crown will protect it and restore appearance.
  • * Sometimes dentists use crowns to hold dental bridges in place.
  • * Dental crowns might also get suggested for cosmetic use if the tooth is discolored or misshapen.

What Materials Do Dentists Use In Crowns?

Dentists might also suggest crowns that are made out of different kinds of materials. The material may depend upon the crown’s use or the patient’s needs. For instance:

  • * Children often get stainless steel crowns over their baby teeth. These crowns are meant to come out when the baby tooth naturally falls out. They don’t look like natural teeth, but they’re cheaper and easier to install.
  • * Metal crowns actually are very durable and can last longer than many materials. The problem is that they don’t look like natural teeth, so dentists may only suggest these for teeth that aren’t typically visible.
  • * Ceramic crowns can be made to look almost exactly like natural teeth. Typically, the dentist or dental assistants will even match the color of the patient’s natural teeth. This is what dentists usually suggest when the teeth are visible because they are in the front of the mouth.

Very often, getting a crown requires two appointments. The dentist may make a temporary crown in his office for the patient to wear home after the first appointment for both appearance and to protect the tooth. They may use a kind of resin because it’s easier to work with, but this resin won’t last as long and will also discolor easily. Most of the time, dentists make a mold of the new crown and send it to a crown company. The crown company will use that mold to create the permanent tooth. This may take a week or two, so the patient will have to come back for another appointment.

How Are Teeth Prepared for Dental Crowns?

If a lot of the tooth is still there, the dentist might need to file it down to make room for the crown. If most of the tooth is missing, the dentist may actually have to use special materials to build it up to hold the crown in place. Generally, the patient has anesthesia before this is done.

Though many dentists make impressions of the tooth to send off to the crown lab, some dentists have begun to use high-tech scanning equipment. This equipment can create a digital image of the existing tooth that the company can use to create a permanent crown.

If the dentist has done a good job, a permanent crown should feel just like a regular tooth to the patient. Sometimes, there is a bit of pain and sensitivity for a few days, but this should diminish with time. Even though permanent crowns are meant to last a lifetime, sometimes they do chip, break, or even fall off. Dentists may be able to repair them, but they usually will have to replace them.