What are dental crowns? Why would I need them? The dental crown procedure is one of the most versatile in dentistry, providing both health and cosmetic benefits. Find out more about this popular treatment.
What are dental crowns used for?
A dental crown is a permanent and strong solution that makes your smile look healthier and natural. Also known as a cap, it fits over an existing tooth and is excellent for recovering worn or damaged teeth and protecting weak teeth from further damage. Additionally, dental crowns can replace missing teeth when used as part of a bridge or dental implant. Let’s look at their use in more detail.
Repair damaged teeth
If you have chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth, dental crowns can be used to cover them. Besides disguising the damage, a dental crown can add support to the damaged tooth preventing further damage and strengthening it.
Strengthen weakened teeth
Dental crowns can also support weak teeth. Teeth may be weakened through damage caused by trauma, injury, or tooth decay. The removal of extensive tooth decay may compromise the tooth’s structure.
Additionally, if tooth decay has reached the tooth’s inner pulp chamber, a root canal procedure may be necessary to save it, which can also lead to the tooth being weakened.
Replace missing teeth
- Dental bridges – A dental bridge is often used when one or more teeth are missing. Dental crowns cover the teeth on each side of the gap and support the bridge that spans the gap left by missing teeth.
- Dental implants – A dental crown can be used as an artificial tooth and as part of a dental implant can replace one, several or even all the teeth in the mouth.
Types of dental crowns
Dental crowns are custom-made for each patient to perfectly fit over their teeth or into the space created by a missing tooth. They are made from various materials, including ceramic, porcelain, metals, zirconia and even a combination of materials, such as porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM).
The choice of material for a dental crown may be dictated by several issues, including cost, aesthetics and whether the material is suitable for your needs.
A porcelain dental crown looks exceptionally natural, making it an excellent material to use if a good cosmetic result is required, for example, on any teeth exposed when smiling.
Porcelain is a hard-wearing material stronger than tooth enamel, so it can damage natural opposing teeth, particularly if a person grinds their teeth. But, it can also be susceptible to chips and requires more of the tooth structure to be removed than for a gold crown.
Although gold is a material that has been used in dentistry for a long time, it is not the most popular material for dental crowns—mainly because, from a cosmetic perspective, it does not blend in with the other teeth. However, it is exceptionally strong – even when thin – and is gentle on opposing teeth.
Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns
PFM can provide the best of both worlds for a dental crown—the strength of metal with the cosmetic appearance of porcelain. However, sometimes the metal can show faintly through the porcelain, affecting the aesthetic appearance.
Zirconia still derives from metal but is a white crystalline oxide made from zirconium. It is as strong and durable as other metals but provides a better cosmetic result. Zirconia is more expensive than porcelain for dental crowns but is likely to be cheaper than gold.
The pros and cons of dental crowns
A dental crown:
- Protects a damaged tooth
- Strengthens and supports a weak tooth
- Replaces a missing tooth
- Improves the appearance of a tooth
- Is a long-term solution lasting an average of 10 years and often much longer
- Has a high success rate
- Is custom-made to fit and can be colour-matched to your other teeth
- The dental crown procedure requires a significant amount of the tooth structure to be removed to accommodate it
- Following the dental crown procedure, some people may experience increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, which typically settles down.
- A dental crown can be more expensive than other dental restorations
What’s involved in the dental crown procedure?
At No Gaps Dental, we’re pleased to offer patients the latest CEREC crowns. Unlike conventional crowns, CEREC crowns can be completed in a single appointment.
Imagine walking in with a damaged tooth and walking out a few hours later with a brand new shiny crown. There is no messy impression taking, no temporary crowns to wear, and no waiting weeks for the custom crown to return from the dental lab.
The tooth receiving a crown is prepared the same way as when having a conventional crown, but the similarity ends there.
The prepared tooth or teeth are scanned using CEREC’s advanced technology, and the images are sent directly to the onsite computer. The photos are used to design the custom crown, and a shade of ceramic is chosen that closely matches the surrounding teeth.
The data is fed into the CEREC milling machine that sculpts the crown while you wait and takes under 30 minutes. All that’s left is for the dentist to try the crown on your tooth for fit and colour before checking your bite and bonding the crown into place.
Hopefully, this article answers the question ‘what are dental crowns?’ and will help you decide if they can be of assistance to you.
Do you need a dental crown?
A dental crown can be a really great investment in your oral health. After all, it’s one of the most effective ways to treat many types of cosmetic and dental health issues to restore your teeth back to their former glory. If you’d like to know more about dental crowns, contact us on (02) 8806 0227 for further information and make an appointment to see us today.
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