A crown is a covering that encases the entire tooth structure, restoring it to its original shape and size. A Crown is most commonly used to protect and strengthen a tooth structures that cannot be restored with filling or other types of restorations. However, crowns—especially porcelain crowns can also be used to restore teeth for cosmetic reasons.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain crowns are the most popular, because this material resembles your natural tooth enamel very closely. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile. They are highly durable and will last many years.
Reasons for Crowns
A crown may be prescribed by your Dentist to:
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Cosmetic enhancement
- Cover a dental implant
- Decayed teeth
- Final phase of root canal therapy
Your Dentist will recommend the best type of crown for your dental restoration needs based on the chewing placement and structure of the tooth or implant that requires protection. There are three types of crowns. Each type has its own characteristics and qualities:
- Full Porcelain
Porcelain is attractive, strong, stable, and highly resistant to wear. It offers a high level of biocompatibility because it does not contain metal.
A porcelain crown provides the best natural color match to the rest of your teeth and is an excellent choice for front teeth. The aesthetic quality of a porcelain crown requires that the Dentist be highly skilled in the use of CEREC® CAD/CAM technology.
Metal offers strength and endurance. A metal crown may be recommended for back teeth where the forces of biting and chewing are the greatest. A metal crown rarely chips or breaks. In addition, it requires minimal removal of tooth structure.
A gold or other high-noble metal crown offers biocompatibility. A base metal crown is often the least expensive treatment options; however, it lacks biocompatibility and may cause allergic reactions or gumline discoloration.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal offers the benefits of a natural surface color that resembles the rest of your teeth and the strength of a metal substructure.
While there are several advantages to selecting this type of crown, it requires the removal of more tooth structure than other types of crowns. This means that there is greater potential for patient discomfort during the treatment procedure.
Getting a crown usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (impressions) or digitally scanning your teeth that will be used to create a custom crown. A mold will be also taken to make your temporary crown, which will stay in place for several weeks until your new crown has been fabricated by a dental laboratory. While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth and remove any decay and shape the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these tasks are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and you bite checked to ensure the crown fits properly. During the time you have the temporary on your tooth you will be encouraged not to floss. You will also be asked to be careful eating on the temporary as to ensure not to loosen the fit.
At the second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be disinfected, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite is accurate. A radiograph will be taken to confirm the proper fitting of the crown prior to cementing with permanent cement. You will be given instructions and encourage to have regular dental visits to check your new crown and make sure it still preforming well.
A crown is a custom-made covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance.
The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:
- Numbing the tooth to removing all the decay or cracks
- Re-shaping the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
- Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown.
- Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
- Applying the custom-made crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the custom-made one onto the tooth.
- After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit with a radiograph, the dentist cements or bonds it into place.
This process generally consists of a minimum of two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.
A bridge is a dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:
- Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
- Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
There are three main types of bridges, namely:
- A fixed bridge is the most popular and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
- The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of a filler that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth.
- The cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extends into the missing tooth space.