A dental crown is essentially a cap or cover that goes over your natural tooth. Crowns are used to restore normal function, size, shape, and color to your tooth. Your dentist may recommend a crown to improve the appearance of your tooth, make your tooth stronger, or even replace a missing tooth. A crown is cemented into place once your tooth is prepared to cover the entire visible area of your tooth at and above your gumline. Here’s when crowns are needed and the many types available.
When Is a Dental Crown Necessary?
Crowns can serve many purposes and may be necessary for many reasons. They can be used to replace a missing tooth, repair a cavity that’s too large for a filling, or protect a tooth restored after a root canal. The most common reasons for a crown include:
- Protecting and restoring a tooth after a root canal.
- Restoring a missing tooth with a bridge, which requires crowns on the adjacent teeth with a third crown that takes the place of the missing tooth.
- Restoring a missing tooth with a dental implant.
- Repairing a cavity that cannot be fixed with a filling because it’s too large or the cavity is in a location in which a filling is likely to break or pop out.
- Repairing a tooth that is worn down, cracked, or weakened due to multiple dental procedures.
Types of Dental Crowns
A crown can be made from many different materials including ceramic, porcelain, metal alloys, composite resin, or some combination. For front teeth, materials are often chosen to look just like natural teeth. Metal alloy dental crowns are usually reserved for the back teeth because they are more affordable.
Metal alloy is often a good choice for molars in the back of the mouth because they withstand chewing and biting force and last longer than other options because they resist wear. It’s also very rare for a metal crown to break or chip. Stainless steel is typically only designed for temporary use or for primary teeth in children before their permanent teeth come in.
One of the most popular options today is porcelain-fused-to-metal. This type of crown is color matched to your adjacent teeth but it does cause greater wear to opposing teeth and it’s possible for a portion of the porcelain to chip or fall off. Porcelain-fused-to-metal looks almost identical to natural teeth except it’s sometimes possible for the metal base to show through the porcelain, especially at the gum line. All porcelain or ceramic crowns offer the most natural appearance and they are usually used for front teeth.
All resin crowns are more affordable than porcelain, ceramic, and porcelain-fused-to-metal but they do wear down and they are more likely to break than porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns.
If you believe you need a dental crown, schedule a consultation to learn about the process and discuss your options with Hillfield Pediatric & Family Dentistry today! We are conveniently located in Layton, UT.