All Crowns Are Not Created Equal

When Are Crowns For Your Teeth Necessary and What Are Your Options?

You’ve probably heard about dental crowns. But do you know what oral health problems necessitate a crown and what types of materials you have to choose from when the crown is made?

You will probably need a dental crown in the following situations:

The damage to your tooth is so severe that it can’t be fixed by filling it with an amalgam or composite material

Your tooth’s appearance is an issue and the placement of a crown can improve the shape, color and in some cases the alignment of the tooth

Your tooth is weak due to decay

You have a cracked tooth which a crown can protect

Your dental bridge needs help being held in place

You have a dental implant that needs to be covered

So how is a permanent dental crown placed? Once a patient is evaluated and a decision is made to use a dental crown to address the patient’s oral health need, the tooth that will be receiving the crown is prepped. This involves removing any decay and preparing the tooth for its permanent crown. This may include fabricating a build-up if there is not enough healthy tooth surface left to hold and stabilize the new crown.

An impression is taken and a temporary crown is fabricated after the tooth is prepped. The temporary crown is placed on the tooth while the permanent crown is being made in the lab. Once the crown is finished, typically 1 to 2 weeks, the patient will return to get the permanent crown cemented into place.

What Materials Are Used for Crowns?

Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. They are often used with children’s primary teeth. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it.

Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, palladium, nickel or chromium. Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

 Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.

All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.

Temporary versus permanent. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office, whereas permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by a lab.

SOURCE: WebMD and American Dental Association

 

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