What is a dental crown?
Your dentist may recommend placing a dental crown to cover your tooth to protect and strengthen it, restore the tooth’s shape, size, and/or improve its appearance. Dental crowns are used for various purposes, including:
- Protecting and restoring a broken or decayed tooth with a large filling
- Restoring a tooth after a root canal
- Covering misshapen or severely discolored teeth for cosmetic purposes
What types of crowns are there?
Temporary crowns are made in your dentist’s office, and are used as a temporary restoration while your permanent crown is constructed by a lab.
Stainless steel crowns are often used as a temporary measure. Prefabricated stainless steel dental crowns are sometimes used to cover baby teeth that are badly decayed, and can also be used preventatively to protect the teeth of a child at high risk for tooth decay.
Metal crowns tolerate chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. Metal crowns may be fabricated with gold alloy, other alloys or a base metal alloy such as chromium or nickel. Compared with other types of dental crowns, when preparing the tooth, less tooth structure is removed, and wear to the crown and opposing teeth is minimal. Metal dental crowns are a good choice for rear molars, as they are a noticeable metallic gold or silver in color.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are made of metal alloys and coated with porcelain. They are color-matched to your existing teeth but may show a dark sliver of color at the gumline. This type of dental crown can be used for either front or back teeth.
All-ceramic dental crowns provide a better natural color match than any other crown type and are more suitable for people with metal allergies. Although they are not as strong as porcelain-fused to metal crowns and can wear down opposing teeth a little more than other types of crowns, they are often used for cosmetic purposes, and are an aesthetically pleasing choice for front teeth.
All-resin crowns are less expensive, but wear down over time and are more prone to breakage and fractures than other types of dental crowns.
Milled crowns require no impression and are digitally constructed in dental offices that have the software and hardware to produce them. They are commonly fabricated and inserted in one visit.