porcelain crowns

What are crowns?
A crown is a restorative that covers, or "caps," a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won't solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn't get worse. Crowns are also used to support a large filling when there isn't enough of the tooth remaining, attach a bridge, protect weak teeth from fracturing, restore fractured teeth, or cover badly shaped or discolored teeth.

What are crowns made of?

Three types of crowns
There are many different types of crowns but they all can be divided into one of three categories based upon the materials used. Crowns can be all metal, all ceramic/porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal. These categories can be further subdivided.

All Metal
The most popular all metal crown is gold. Gold is the best material to use for a crown because it can last the longest and is most compatible as far as wear and hypoallergenicity. Crowns can also be made of other metals with lower gold or no gold content.

Porcelain fused to Metal
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are very common and used as standard because they have been around for awhile. Most people ask for a ceramometal (porcelain fused to metal) crown because they don't want yellow gold showing. A ceramometal crown has porcelain baked on to high noble alloy shell (high gold content).

All Porcelain - No Metal
The last category is the ceramic/porcelain crown. These crowns have no metal and depending upon the type of crown can be either cemented or bonded to the tooth. The most esthetic ceramic crown is the porcelain jacket crown. This type of crown is more esthetic because it is bonded to the tooth, has greater depth of color and is opalescent. Porcelain veneers are very similiar in character to a porcelain jacket crown.

How is a crown placed?
To prepare the tooth for a crown, it is reduced so the crown can fit over it. An impression of the teeth and gums are made and sent off to the lab for the crown fabrication. A temporary crown is fitted over the tooth until the permanent crown in made. On the next visit, the dentist removes the temporary crown and cements the permanent crown onto the tooth.

Will it look natural?
Yes. The dentist's main goal is to create crowns that look like natural teeth. That is why dentists take an impression. To achieve a certain look, a number of factors are considered, such as the color, bite, shape and length of your natural teeth. Any one of these factors alone can affect your appearance.
If you have a certain cosmetic look in mind for your crown, discuss it with your dentist at your initial visit. When the procedure is complete, your teeth will not only be stronger, but they may be more attractive.

Why crowns and not veneers?
Crowns require more tooth structure removal; hence, they cover more of the tooth than veneers. Crowns are stationary and are customarily indicated for teeth that have sustained significant loss of structure, or to replace missing teeth. Crowns may be placed on natural teeth or dental implants.

How should I take care of my crowns?
To prevent damaging or fracturing the crowns, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects. You also want to avoid teeth grinding. Besides visiting your dentist and brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth is vital with crowns. Floss or interdental cleaners (specially shaped brushes and sticks) are important tools to remove plaque from the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque in that area can cause dental decay and gum disease.