Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are fitted over teeth to restore their shape, function, and appearance. Once placed, they completely cover the visible parts of the tooth.
When are Dental Crowns Needed?
Dental crowns are needed for a variety of reasons. They cover dental implants and misshaped or discolored teeth. We also employ them to protect weaker teeth from cracking or decay, to hold a cracked tooth together or restore a broken tooth. Dental crowns are also used for cosmetic modifications and to keep dental bridges in place.
What are Crowns made from?
We craft crowns from a wide variety of substances, and each has advantages and disadvantages.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated and are usually placed on permanent teeth temporarily. These crowns protect teeth and fillings while we craft the permanent crown from another material.
The metals used for crowns contain alloys that have a high amount of platinum, gold or base-metal alloys (such as nickel-chromium and cobalt-chromium). Metal crowns do an excellent job of resisting the force of chewing and biting, and they rarely break or chip. For these reasons, this type of crown is likely the longest-lasting.
Unlike metal crowns, we can match porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns to the color of your surrounding teeth. However, when compared to resin or metal crowns, this type of crowns wear down the opposing teeth more quickly. The porcelain part can also break or chip.
All-resin dental crowns are more prone to wear and fracturing over time than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. They cost less, however.
All-ceramic crowns (also called all-porcelain crowns) are used for both front and back teeth and work well for patients who are allergic to metal. They have the most natural appearance out of all available crown options.
Temporary crowns are made in a dental office, while most permanent crowns are made in dental laboratories. We usually prescribe temporary crowns while we construct the permanent ones. The temporary crowns we use are made of stainless steel or an acrylic-based material.
Caring for Temporary Crowns
Because temporary crowns are temporary, we have a few precautions for patients whom we give them to. Avoid sticky foods, as these can get stuck to the crown and possibly pull it off. Hard foods can dislodge or break the crowns, so avoid chewing those also.
We also ask patients to avoid chewing with the side of their mouth with the temporary crown as much as possible. When cleaning in between your teeth with floss, slide the floss out instead of lifting it out or else you may pull the crown off.
Longevity of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns can last from 5 to 15 years if they are properly cared for. The longevity of crowns depends on how much wear and tear they receive and the quality of the patient's oral hygiene. To ensure the crowns last, avoid bad habits such as biting fingernails, chewing ice, grinding teeth, and using them as tools.
For more information, please contact our office at (970) 812-3959.