A dental crown is a tooth-shaped sleeve made of porcelain or metal (or a combination of both) that is placed over a tooth. The dentist will match it up to the shape and colour of your other teeth. These may be recommended to cover a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength it and to improve its appearance.
The crown is cemented into place using a variety of methods . The edge of the crown should fit the tooth margin perfectly and finish at the junction of the gum and the tooth. If the crown is tooth coloured it should fit in perfectly in shape, colour and texture of the surrounding teeth.
Why is a dental crown needed?
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an existing broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth remaining
- To cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth
- To cover a dental implant
What types of crowns are available?
- Permanent crowns can be all metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
- Metals used in crowns include gold alloy and other alloys (for example, palladium). Compared with other crown types, less of the tooth needs to be removed that with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces better and are less prone to general wear. Metal crowns also rarely chip or break. However, due to the metallic colour, metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be colour-matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs compared to metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide the best natural colour match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. They are strong and durable (with significant improvements over the last 5-10 years) and now can be used confidently on all back teeth. They look more “tooth like” as they reflect light better. They can be made in a dental laboratory or in the dental clinic. At Keith Burns Associates we send all our work to the highest quality dental laboratories for accuracy and best fit.