When it comes to dental restorations, there is no getting away from the fact that dental crowns are one of the most common. Made from a variety of different materials, crowns are tooth-shaped prosthetics with a hollow core. They are used to sit over the top of the affected tooth, encasing it inside the core so that it can no longer be affected by damage or decay. In placing the crown, your dentist will also be restoring the function and appearance of the tooth, so that there is no compromise on your ability to use your teeth normally.
Dental crowns are usually recommended when the decay or damage to your affected tooth is so severe that a cavity filling, which is usually the first solution tried, is simply not a viable option. Each crown is custom-designed to fit over the top of the affected tooth and sit perfectly in the gap so that it looks as natural as possible. However, in order for this to happen, your dentist will need to prepare the underlying tooth, removing any areas of decay and either building the tooth up or filing it down so that the crown will sit perfectly over the top. This is important as your dentist will need to seal the tooth against possible leaks. If these occur, bacteria could get under the crown and affect your natural tooth again.
It is estimated that as many as 15 million people in the United States currently have at least one dental crown. This number is expected to grow because, as a population, we continue to eat foods that are bad for our teeth, fail to commit to a robust oral hygiene routine and seem unable to give up habits that are bad for our dental health, such as smoking.
On average, a dental crown can be expected to last anywhere between five and 15 years, but exactly how long depends on the type of crown that you have received and how well you have looked after it and your dental health.
Types of dental crown
There are four different types of dental crown currently being used in dentistry across the United States today. There are:
Made from 100% porcelain-based material, these are the most natural-looking of all crowns since they can be created in a shade that closely resembles that of your natural teeth. Once the crown is in place, it is virtually invisible. Since these are the least durable type of crown, they are not normally recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night, as this could lead to them quickly becoming damaged.
Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
Also known as PFM crowns, this variety is considered stronger than ceramic varieties since the outer porcelain (which can still be created in a shade close to your natural teeth) is bonded to a metal framework. While this makes PFM crowns extremely durable, some patients find that the tooth looks slightly less translucent than the ceramic type as the metal inside makes it look a little darker. PFM crowns, as well as all-ceramic varieties, can start to aggravate opposing teeth if the adjacent surface becomes rough.
This type of crown is created from a blend of copper, gold, and other materials. It is extremely strong, and fractures and damage are virtually unheard of. However, it is obviously more noticeable since it cannot be color-matched to your existing teeth.
Base metal alloys
The cheapest type of dental crown available, it is made from non-noble metals that are heavily resistant to damage and corrosion. This also makes them the strongest type of crown.
How do I know which type of crown is right for me?
Your dentist will be happy to discuss the different types of crowns with you to help you make an informed decision as to which is best for you. This may depend on various factors, such as where in your mouth the crown will be located and whether or not you suffer from bruxism.
If you would like more information on the various types of crown available, or if you think that you have a dental problem that would benefit from a crown, please contact Jupiter Dentistry today to learn more.