Dental crowns are caps placed on top of damaged teeth. Crowns are used to protect, cover and restore the shape of your teeth when fillings don’t solve the problem. Dental crowns can be made out of metals, porcelain, resin and ceramics. They typically don’t require special care over time other than regular good oral hygiene.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Over time, your teeth can get damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, like tooth decay, injuries or just use over time. Your teeth can lose their shape or size. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that can be placed over your tooth. Think of it like a snug hat for your tooth. The crown restores the tooth’s shape, size, strength and appearance.
The dental crown is cemented into place on your tooth and it covers the visible portion of the tooth.
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
- Support a tooth that has a large filling when there isn’t enough natural tooth structure remaining
- Attach a bridge to replace missing teeth
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth
- Cover a dental implant
What Type of Dental Crown Should I Choose?
When you need a crown, you immediately start thinking about the types of dental crowns and cost. This is because today there are many different types of crowns that vary depending on materials, cost, procedures, and patient’s needs.
The main types of crowns used in dentistry include:
Zirconia Crowns :
Zirconium is a relatively new material that combines the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain crowns. High translucent zirconia and layered zirconia crowns have become a more popular choice lately.
The main ADVANTAGES of zirconia crowns are:
- They provide great aesthetics
- They are strong and long-lasting (less possibilities of chipping or breaking).
- The process can be less time consuming because zirconia can be cut and shaped at the same dental office. There’s no need to send them over to a dental lab.
- Zirconia Crowns are less likely to wear down due to their strength.
- They are biocompatible: as metal free crowns, they are not likely to cause allergic reactions.
E- MAX Crowns :
The newest type of crown in dentistry today is known as E -Max. It is a type of all-ceramic crown made of lithium disilicate (which is also light and thin).
The main ADVANTAGES of E-max crowns are:
- Great aesthetics. They look great in your mouth.
- They can be durable and very strong.
- They provide a great choice both for front and back teeth.
All Porcelain Crowns :
This is definitely the most popular type of crown used nowadays. They are entirely made of porcelain material.
Some ADVANTAGES are:
- Porcelain or ceramic crowns provide the best and most natural look. They match your surrounding teeth in shape, size, and color.
- The best option for front teeth restorations.
- They are biocompatible: that means no metal is used, so they are toxic-free.
Porcelain Fused-to-Metal Crowns (PFM) :
Porcelain fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns are another widely used type of dental crowns. They provide both strength (due to their metal structure) and aesthetics (due to the porcelain coat that covers the cap).
The main ADVANTAGES of PFM crowns are:
- They provide great aesthetics and durability.
- They’ve been around for over 50 years. We know they work well.
- They are less costly than all porcelain crowns.
However, the DISADVANTAGES of PFMs include:
- The metal in these crowns may cause a grey line at the gumline. This may not give the 100% aesthetic look that all porcelain crowns provide.
- For people who clench their teeth, this type of crown may wear down more easily against the opposing teeth.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
On average, dental crowns last between five and 15 years. The life space of a crown can depend on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well you follow oral hygiene practices and personal mouth-related habits. These mouth-related habits can include things like:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth.
- Chewing ice.
- Biting your fingernails.
- Using your teeth to open packaging.