A dental crown is a fixed prosthetic that covers a damaged tooth or dental implant. Crowns can be used to strengthen a tooth damaged by decay or cover it after a root canal procedure. They are also used to cosmetically enhance smiles by improving the shape, alignment, bite, and appearance of a tooth.
There are several types of crowns, each with advantages and disadvantages.
Porcelain or ceramic crowns most closely resemble natural teeth, so they are typically used to restore damaged teeth in the front of the mouth, where they are highly visible. They are a good option for people who have metal allergies. They are not as strong as metal or porcelain-covered metal crowns, however, and they create wear on adjacent teeth more than metal crowns. They are not a good option for people who grind their teeth.
The metal core of a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown provides a strong durable structure that allows the porcelain veneer to bond securely, providing a good combination of strength and natural appearance. This makes them suitable for use on front or back teeth. Unlike all-metal crowns, porcelain-fused dental crowns can be color matched to adjacent teeth. This option looks the most natural after all-ceramic, but the porcelain veneer on the crown can break or chip off over time. In some cases, the underlying metal portion of the crown can show through as a dark line, especially near the gum line.
Gold Alloy Crowns
Gold alloy crowns are made from copper, gold, and other metals. They bond very well to the tooth, are highly resistant to fracture, and cause little wear to adjacent teeth. Gold crowns are the most durable type of crown but, given the high cost of gold, they are expensive.
Base Metal Alloy Crowns
These crowns are made from non-noble metals that resist corrosion, like chromium and nickel. Crowns made from base metals require the least removal of healthy tooth for a proper fitting. They also minimize wear to adjacent teeth. Crowns made from metal withstand biting and last longer than other materials without chipping or breaking. Their primary drawback is the unnatural etallic color. As a result, base metal crowns are usually used for molars in the back of the mouth where they are least noticeable to others.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated and are designed to be used as temporary crowns to protect permanent teeth. A stainless steel crown can protect a filling or tooth while a permanent crown is being made. This type of crown is often used on primary teeth in children because they are far more cost-effective than custom crowns and come out naturally when the tooth falls out.
Milled or zirconia crowns are unique in that they are made in the dentist’s office rather than produced in a dental lab. Dental offices with the necessary equipment can produce and install milled crowns during a single visit, so there is no need to install a temporary crown while a permanent one is being produced off-site. This technology can produce a durable crown, although they are not as aesthetically pleasing as a porcelain or porcelain-and-metal crown.
In general, crowns made of metal offer the greatest durability while porcelain crowns offer the most natural appearance with reduced strength. Metal crowns with a porcelain overlay offer a good compromise between appearance and durability for many applications.
While crowns can sometimes fall out or become loose over time, they may last a lifetime if they are maintained through good oral health.
For crown repairs, installation and other dental care in Jacksonville, contact Lane Avenue Family Dentistry.