A crown is used to cover or “cap” a tooth entirely. It can strengthen a damaged tooth, and improve its appearance, shape, or alignment.
Crowns are a fixed prosthetic device used to restore health, function, and aesthetics to damaged teeth. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, crowns are cemented onto existing teeth or dental implants and can only be removed by your dentist.
Dr. Neff may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a dental bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
Placement of dental crowns
The procedure is usually completed over the course of two office visits. At the first visit, we will numb the tooth to ensure you are comfortable throughout your appointment. Next, we will file the tooth down to make room for the crown. We will also remove any decayed areas. If the decay or broken area is extensive, we will build up the tooth to make sure that it can support the crown. X-rays might also be required.
We will next take a mold or impression of the prepped tooth and send it to the lab that will fabricate the crown. We’ll place a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the final crown is delivered. Once your custom crown is built, we will cement the crown in place using local anesthetics to reduce discomfort.
Types of crowns
While the purposes of dental crowns are fairly universal, the materials they are made of varies.
Dr. Neff will recommend the best crown material for your situation:
- Pediatric dentistry typically uses stainless steel crowns, simply because they are the most affordable for a temporary fix. As the child’s tooth develops, the tooth will eventually outgrow the crown and will need a more permanent replacement.
- Metal crowns are a popular choice for crowns in the back of your mouth. They are more affordable and durable compared to other materials, but their gold or platinum color is not aesthetically pleasing. For this reason, metal is typically reserved for out-of-sight issues.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal is one of the most natural-looking options available, but the quality pales in comparison to other materials. The durability is poor, often leading to chipping or breakage. The metal core may also show through the porcelain, creating noticeable dark lines within the smile.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns are often the most popular options because of their natural appearance and their ability to cover metal. These crowns are used for the most visible parts of your mouth.