What is a Dental Crown? | Types of Caps Available | Why and When To Cap a Tooth | Technical Requirements | Cosmetic Reasons for Crowning Teeth | Pros and Cons of different materials | Application & Procedure | The Cost | Lifespan and Repair | Bringing Bright Smiles
What is a Dental Crown?
They can be cosmetic, but more commonly they are used as a protective cap placed on top of a fragile tooth. This cap shrouds the visible part above the gum. We offer the highest quality treatments to our patients, including creating a durable and well fitting crown that protects as well as looks great. Let’s take a closer look at this process.
We offer different types to suit each need and price:
- All-Metal – This type is made wholly from metal alloys. They are extremely strong but are less visibly pleasing than others and thus, rarely used except for restoring less visible back teeth.
- All-Porcelain – This type is prepared using tooth-colored ceramics and look natural. Patients who are most conscious about their smile choose porcelain caps.
- Metal-Ceramic – These contain a framework of metallic alloys under a layer of porcelain which results in a strong, but aesthetically pleasing one.
Aside from the materials used, there are also different types available, based on how long they are intended to last.
- Permanent – These are most commonly used to permanently restore a crooked or chipped tooth with posts. Using a special dental adhesive, permanent crowns are cemented in place and are only removed by a dentist if they need repair.
Why and When to Cap a Tooth?
It should be capped if there is:
- A technical (restorative) requirement
- A cosmetic requirement
Most times both a broken and an unsightly tooth are simultaneously corrected with the use of a crown. We will take the cosmetic effect into consideration. Sometimes this can include whitening or even lengthening the tooth in some cases. In either case, this procedure is relatively pain-free and results in a strong, beautiful tooth and smile. Here are examples of what we mean by technical and cosmetic requirements:
They may be advised in the following scenarios:
- Weakened teeth- Ones which are weak from cracks, decay or otherwise damaged can likely be saved with this treatment.
- Following Root Canal Treatment – after restoration especially using root canal treatment, it may be so weak that it won’t withstand further chewing while eating. A cap can make it strong again.
- Heavily Filled Teeth – Similarly, one restored with a filling sometimes has very little natural material left and will not survive. A cap will lend strength to it.
Crowns can restore your ability to speak and chew correctly, and look beautiful at the same time.
Cosmetic Reasons for Crowning Teeth
- Esthetics – Caps can improve the way misshaped or damaged ones look without resorting to dentures or even implants.
- Masking Permanent Teeth Stains – This is one way to easily cover those that are severely or permanently discolored.
- Longevity – They are durable and are known for rarely, if ever, falling off.
Pros and Cons of different materials
- Stainless Steel – Generally less expensive than other materials, they can be built in many sizes and shapes and are fabricated in the lab. They are commonly used on 1. Baby teeth when a child is extremely prone to decay and 2. Adults when the teeth have been prepared.
- Gold and Other Metal Alloy Based – Gold has been used for decades. Their price is relatively low, which makes it attractive for use, sometimes alloyed with other metals to give it more strength. Other base materials can be used in place of gold to give the crown strength against wear and the ability to bear the forces of chewing. Gold is also easy on the opposing tooth and doesn’t tend to cause wear on it. Because they are so strong, metal alloy versions can be made with thin walls. This means less natural material will have to be shaved off. However, the characteristically metallic color makes this less aesthetically pleasing and desirable, especially in the visible ones in front. They are suitable for molars, which are not normally visible. One thing to note is that gold and other metals are conductors of heat and it may take a few weeks for some sensitivity to cold to wear off after the procedure.
- All-Resin – This type is the least expensive available and thus have a few disadvantages to note: they are not very strong, can easily fracture, tend to wear down over time, and stain more easily than other materials.
- All-Ceramic (All-porcelain) – This type can be expensive, but if aesthetics is a major factor, this is a great option. Porcelain is translucent and reflects the color of your teeth below it, making it the best color match with the rest of them. Porcelain does not conduct heat well so the initial period of sensitivity to cold and heat is negligible. It is also non-allergenic and won’t affect allergies as some materials do. One downside is they wear out faster than most other materials and are more liable to break under chewing forces, especially with bruxism. Because of this, porcelain caps for use on molars are made thicker and require more trimming of the enamel of the affected one. They are most commonly used in front, where it is most important to be visually appealing.
- Zirconia or Milled – These are the most expensive kind and are perfect if you are concerned about aesthetics but not about cost. They are translucent so they provide an excellent color match. They are not susceptible to fractures as ceramic caps are. CAD/CAM allow zirconia crowns to be fabricated while you wait or saved for your next visit.
- Made from Porcelain Fused to Metal – The use of porcelain fused over a metal such as zirconia overcomes the brittleness of the all-porcelain type, while still offering great color matching to the surrounding ones. These are the best visual choice after all-porcelain if you watch for a couple of things. The metal underlay could become visible near your gum line if your gums begin receding. Also, the underlying metal makes the cap look less natural. Also to note: a zirconia base can be milled and can be less expensive than a gold base.
During our first visit, your teeth are prepared for the placement of the crown. A small layer of your enamel will be trimmed to accommodate the thickness of the cap. Next, impressions of will be taken and sent to the lab for molding and fabricating. Once we receive them, we will place them during your second visit. The placement is relatively pain free. If using zirconium, they will be milled using CAD/CAM instead of being sent out for fabricating.
The average healing time is short, with little aftercare necessary. This means it won’t be long before you have recovered and are again able to eat your favorite foods.
Restorative caps range in price, mostly based on the material used to make them. Considering both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes, the cost of this procedure is well worth it. Finding the best expert is important to ensure that your money is spent wisely. If you require a crown, we also have a variety of financing options.
Lifespan and Repair
Crowns can last over seven years, and can even last a lifetime if properly cared for. There is a chance that the cement used could dissolve, leaving the cap loose or allowing it to fall off. If this happens, don’t force it back on or it could damage the tooth under or the cap itself. Contact our office and we will arrange for repair or if it is severely damaged, we can replace it with a new one.
Factors that Determine the Longevity
- The location of the jaw
- The condition of the tooth it is supported on.
- Oral hygiene and care of the tooth.
- Poor oral hygiene habits of the person wearing the crown.
- Materials used in the crown (e.g., gold lasts longer than zirconia or porcelain)
- The quality and manufacturing process of the crown.
- The type of the crown (partial or full)
- Periodontal health of the wearer.
- Accidents or any other external trauma.
Insurance companies often pay for the replacement of the crowns if it happens after 5 to 8 years. Crowns are estimated to last for up to 15 years or longer.
Bringing Bright Smiles To Frisco, Tx
Crowns are an excellent option for restoring oral health and repairing damaged teeth. Make an appointment with our dental office in Frisco, TX and we will help you find a solution for your unique case. Our specialists will help you to be educated and confident in your decision. We are located near The Colony and Prosper, Texas.
Dr. George’s Dental Affiliations
Dr. George is highly educated and experienced in providing dental care. She provides the dental care you and your family need to reach healthy smiles. Read Dr. George’s full bio…