A dental crown is a cap that covers a tooth, keeping it together and offering a more regular, flawless appearance. When the dental crown is applied, it covers the tooth all the way down to the gums. The resulting crown provides a hard, protective shell for a damaged tooth.
Dental crowns are not a solution for all dental issues. For instance, dental crowns are not designed to cover stained teeth since other, less invasive choices are available. Dental crowns are designed to strengthen a tooth that has a structural problem that cannot be fixed by other means. Uses for dental crowns include:
. Keeping a cracked or weakened tooth together.
. Covering a broken or extremely worn tooth.
. Protecting a tooth that has been broadly decayed. In these instances, the dental crown holds the large filling in place.
. Protecting a misshapen or badly discolored tooth.
. Covering a dental implant post.
. Keeping a dental bridge in place.
Types of Dental Crowns
These crowns are usually made from a variety of materials. These materials are:
. Metal Alloy. Metal alloy dental crowns are made from a silver or gold alloy. These crowns are very long-lasting and they resist staining, chipping, and breaking since the metal alloy is very strong. In addition, metal crowns can be placed with minimal tooth removal. Still, some patients do not like the appearance of metal crowns since they stand out.
. Porcelain and Metal. Porcelain and metal crowns fuse the porcelain outer shell to a metal inner shell. These crowns have the benefit of the hard, durable metal shell to protect the tooth on the inside, and a more appealing, natural-looking porcelain shell on the outside. The disadvantage to these dental crowns is that the porcelain can wear off over time, exposing the metal underneath.
. Porcelain. Porcelain crowns look very natural. Yet, porcelain is not as strong as metal alloy dental crowns. These dental crowns also wear the teeth next to them, which can cause dental problems over time.
. Resin. Much like porcelain crowns, resin dental crowns look natural. Still, they are not as strong as either porcelain or metal crowns. Resin dental crowns are more susceptible to chipping or cracking, which means that they need to be replaced more often and they do not protect the tooth as well.
Caring for Your Crown
Dental crowns can last may years or even a lifetime. A key element to keeping your dental crown strong and in good shape is to take proper care of it. This includes brushing and flossing all of your teeth, including the crown. Inspect the dental crown regularly for damage and notify your dentist if you notice any chips, cracks, or damage. A damaged dental crown cannot protect the tooth, which leaves it prone to decay.