Any patient’s dentistry goal is to be able to have work done that looks and feels natural. With modern technology, there are many ways to fix or improve your teeth; crowns being one of them. When done by a talented dentist, crowns can offer patients a fulfilling, beautiful smile.
What are crowns?
Crowns are used when a patient’s teeth are beyond repair. Also known as a “cap”, it fits over a damaged or decayed tooth. It could even replace a tooth entirely. It completely covers a tooth and is ideal for a tooth that is missing a substantial volume of structure.
Crowns can be used to replace an entire tooth. This is done with something called bridgework. Bridgework is a series of crowns that span through multiple teeth.
What is a crown made of?
They can strengthen teeth that are damaged and are mostly indistinguishable from a patient’s original teeth. There are different forms of crowns, using different materials as their base. Each material has its own benefits. Crown materials may include:
Gold: These crowns are known for their resilience, but not for their attractiveness. Gold crowns are not typically recommended for the front of the mouth. They tend to be gentle on the other teeth in the mouth and is best for people that have a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth. Drawbacks include sensitivity, as the gold crowns conduct hot or cold temperatures easily. These also may not be suitable for patients who have metal allergies or sensitivities.
Porcelain fused to metal: Also known as PFMs, these crowns have an interior made of metal for added strength and a porcelain exterior to give it a more natural look. These crowns are stronger than full porcelain, but a better-looking option than gold crowns. They are less lifelike due to the metal base causing opacity. These crowns also may affect patients with metal allergies or sensitivities.
All-Porcelain: These crowns are made of the strongest ceramic. They are probably the most aesthetically pleasing option and give a lifelike result. These do not conduct temperatures well so there is less of a risk of sensitivity. Full porcelain crowns are best for front teeth, where it is more important to a patient for the crown to look natural. However, these crowns fracture relatively easily in comparison to other materials and may not be suitable for patients who tend to clench or grind their teeth.
How is a crown put in?
Crowning a tooth can take up to three visits. First, the tooth must be prepared by being shaped to fit inside the new crown. The tooth must be drilled down. If there isn’t much healthy substance left, the tooth may need to have filling material added to it to support the crown.
After that tooth is ready, impressions of all your teeth are made. This is done to make models of your teeth to help create the new crown. They serve as controls to help ensure the new crown will match the other teeth in appearance as well as purpose. Before you leave, the dentist will typically give you a temporary crown until the permanent one is ready.
Lastly, you will come in for your permanent crown which will be attached to your tooth using a type of resin that will harden, or a type of lasting cement.