Severe tooth decay can reach a point where a dental filling is insufficient to maintain the tooth's integrity. When left untreated, such teeth can deteriorate even further. In such cases, dentists turn to dental crowns as a solution to safeguard what remains of the tooth.

Dental crowns represent a crucial restorative option in our dental services. They can rescue a tooth that is fractured or decayed by holding it together and shielding it against additional damage. Additionally, crowns can serve as an aesthetically pleasing replacement for an unsightly tooth.

A dental crown, also known as a cap, is a versatile solution not only for protecting damaged teeth but also for concealing discoloration, correcting misshapen teeth, or covering a dental implant. Crowns not only enhance the appearance of your tooth but also strengthen it.

Once in place, a dental crown functions just like a natural tooth. Therefore, you should maintain it with the same care. Continue to brush and floss your crowned tooth regularly, and make sure to attend regular checkups with your dentist for ongoing maintenance and care.

What Is A Dental Crown?

In the field of dentistry, a crown, often referred to as a cap, is an artificial tooth designed to fit over and cover a damaged or compromised natural tooth. These crowns are individually crafted to blend seamlessly with your existing smile and are constructed to offer long-lasting durability. Crowns play a crucial role in various dental conditions, and they are sometimes necessary following specific dental procedures. For instance, a tooth that has undergone a root canal or received a large filling may become weakened and susceptible to cracking or breaking, making the application of a crown necessary to ensure protection. Additionally, crowns can serve cosmetic purposes, enhancing the appearance of a tooth that is misshapen or discolored.

There exist several types of crowns, each distinguished by its appearance and strength characteristics.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns are comprised of gold or other alloys (mixtures). They are the most durable type of crown available & the least likely to wear down your opposing teeth. The downside of metal crowns is that they do not blend into your smile, so you may not want them on your most visible teeth.

Ceramic Crowns

Ceramic crowns are crafted from porcelain and are primarily chosen for their exceptional aesthetic properties. These crowns can be precisely matched to the color of your natural teeth, making them an excellent choice for restoring your front teeth, where appearance is a top priority. However, it's important to note that ceramic crowns are the least durable among the available crown options. Porcelain can be somewhat fragile, which makes it less suitable for replacing teeth that endure substantial stress, particularly molars. Additionally, ceramic crowns can be abrasive on the opposing teeth, which is another factor to consider when choosing the right type of crown for your dental needs.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) crowns represent a hybrid that combines the features of ceramic and metal alloy crowns. These crowns feature a porcelain exterior for aesthetics and a metal interior for added strength. By offering a blend of both aesthetics and durability, PFM crowns aim to provide the advantages of both materials. However, they also come with certain drawbacks to consider. Over time, the metal edge of the crown can become visible near the gum line, which can affect the overall aesthetics of the restoration. Additionally, the outer porcelain layer, like in all-porcelain crowns, has the potential to wear down your other teeth or become damaged.

Zirconia Crowns

popular choice for many dentists when crafting crowns. Similar to other metal crowns, zirconia is highly durable. However, it's important to note that while zirconia offers excellent durability and strength, it falls somewhat short in terms of aesthetics when compared to porcelain crowns. Additionally, it may not be as gentle on the opposing teeth as certain metal alloys.

Procedure Overview

Once the most suitable type of crown has been determined for your needs, we will arrange two appointments for the crown placement process. Here's what you can expect during these appointments:

First Appointment:

  • The dentist will start by assessing your tooth, removing any tooth decay, and performing necessary fillings or root canals, if required.

  • Then, they will trim down your tooth by removing a portion of its enamel to create a suitable base for the crown. Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the tooth before this process begins. The amount of enamel removed will vary depending on the type of crown you have chosen, with metal crowns typically requiring the least reduction.

  • An impression (mold) of your prepared tooth and surrounding teeth will be taken. This involves gently pulling the gums away from the prepared tooth and having you bite down on putty-filled trays for a few minutes. The impression will be sent to a dental lab, which will craft a custom crown to match your damaged tooth and blend seamlessly with your natural teeth. If you've chosen a ceramic, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or zirconia crown, the lab will also ensure it matches the color of your other teeth.

  • To safeguard your prepared tooth while you wait for the custom crown to be fabricated, a temporary crown will be placed.

Second Appointment:

  • Once the dental lab has completed your personalized crown, you will return for the second appointment. The dentist will verify that the crown fits comfortably and securely.
  • After confirming the proper fit, the crown will be permanently affixed to your tooth using a bonding resin.

Dental crowns require the same level of care as natural teeth. Although the crown itself is impervious to decay, the tooth beneath it can still be susceptible. Regular brushing and flossing are essential to maintain the longevity of your crown. With proper care, a typical crown can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years.