Cracked, broken, or damaged teeth can often affect your smile as well as your ability to eat and speak. Dental crowns or caps are reliable restorations that cover the entire visible surface of a damaged tooth and restore both its shape and its function. Dental crowns are used when a tooth is in poor shape, weak, or discolored and when a tooth has a large filling that compromises its structure and strength. A dental crown may also be referred to as a “cap” or “jacket.”
Dental crowns are one of the most common types of restorative treatments that dentists provide. They are versatile and can be used for many different types of damage. The most commonly used type of dental crowns is those made of porcelain because they mimic the look, feel, and function of real teeth.
Dr. Wang at Jonathan C. Wang DDS Inc. in Pleasanton, California, can fully restore your teeth and your smile using the latest products and technology, including dental crowns made from various materials.
Types of Dental Crowns
A crown is a dental restoration used for fixing damaged or decayed teeth that cannot be restored using a dental filling. A dental crown covers the entire surface of the affected tooth to prevent tooth fracture. Its role is to restore and strengthen the tooth’s structure so that you can eat and speak freely, as well as minimize further damage.
Crowns are made using different materials such as metal, porcelain fused to metal, gold and ceramic.
All-ceramic crowns are very natural-looking. Dr. Wang and the dental lab customizes them to closely match the color of your natural teeth so that they blend in seamlessly. All-ceramic crowns have translucency and light reflection characteristics just like the enamel of your natural teeth. Therefore, they are a great option for damaged front teeth. These crowns are durable and, if taken care of properly, they can last several years.
All-ceramic crowns are typically made from porcelain that is fused to an underlying metal structure. The metal is used to improve durability and strength so that the all-ceramic crown is strong enough to withstand the everyday use and pressure that patients place on their dental restorations.
- All-ceramic crowns are tooth colored and most natural looking to match the surrounding dentition
- They are mostly considered for front teeth
- All-ceramic crowns are not recommended for patients who grind their teeth
Crowns made of Zirconia are common as they are strong, durable, and can withstand chewing force. Besides, they do not require the dentist to do much preparation for your teeth.
- Zirconia crowns are strong and highly fracture-resistant and long-lasting
- They are ideal for back teeth as they can withstand chewing pressure without breakage
- Zirconia crowns do not blend with natural teeth as well as all-ceramic crowns
Known for its durability and strength, gold crowns are mainly preferred for back teeth. They need less of your natural tooth structure to be removed to place the crown.
- Gold is a strong metal that is resistant to fracture
- Gold crowns are better for back teeth because of their appearance
- Poor esthetics – gold crowns do not look like natural teeth
- Expensive – cost per unit is high
- Can experience temperature sensitivity
Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM):
Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) dental crowns integrate the strength of metal and the natural-looking appearance of porcelain. However, there are possibilities that porcelain may chip, thus showing the metal at the base of the tooth.
- Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) crowns are less costly than all-ceramic crowns
- The metal in the crown can cause greyness around the gumline
- Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) crown is not very aesthetic in appearance
- Porcelain can chip away from the metal in the posterior dentition
Lithium Disilicate Crowns:
One of the most recently developed dental crowns in dentistry, Lithium Disilicate Crowns, also called E-Max crowns, are a type of all-ceramic crowns fabricated from light, thin lithium disilicate.
- They have great aesthetics as they are all-ceramic
- They are durable and strong
- These crowns can be used in both front and back teeth
- Lithium Disilicate Crowns do not have as high a strength/fracture resistance compared to Zirconia
What Are Crowns Used For?
Dental crowns are most commonly used for:
- Large cavities and restorations that cannot be completed with a filling
- After a root canal procedure on a tooth where a lot of natural tooth structure is missing, in order to restore and protect these teeth that are now even more prone to fracture
- To treat broken or fractured teeth
- After a dental implant is inserted
- To cosmetically enhance the appearance of some types of tooth imperfections