A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
There are 4 basic types of crowns. Each type has its benefits and can be used in specific situations.
- All-Ceramic Crowns - These are the most versatile of all crowns. All-Ceramic crowns utilize a zirconia substructure to reinforce the porcelain aesthetic outer covering. The zirconia is both super strong and white so you get very solid and very good looking tooth. We recommend this type of crown for all front teeth and also in certain situations for back teeth.
- All-Porcelain Crowns - Before the zirconia technology advanced to the point that it could be used in dental applications, the best aesthetic option for front teeth was All-Porcelain Crowns. This type of crown is solid porcelain with no reinforcing substructure. The type of crown is very good looking, but is susceptible to chipping and may need to be replaced more often than other types of crowns. Due to the success of All-Ceramic crowns we rarely suggest All-Porcelain crowns.
- Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Crowns - Previous to the zirconia reinforced crowns, the best choice for a durable and aesthetic crown was the PFM Crown. This type of crown has a metal substructure that reinforces an outer covering of porcelain. The porcelain matches the natural tooth color and the metal strengthens it to reduce the chances chipping or cracking like an All-Porcelain crown. The one drawback with a PFM crown is that occasionally a grey shadow will appear at the gum line of the tooth due to the dark color of the metal substructure. We mainly recommend PFM crowns for back teeth due to this small aesthetic concern.
- All-Metal Crowns - This type of crown is the oldest style and usually the most reliable. It is also the least aesthetic type of crown. All-Metal crowns are generally made from some formulation of gold although occasionally dentists will utilize stainless steel as well. The gold used in these crowns adapts very well to the tooth and wears down very slowly so it will last longer than most other types of crowns. If aesthetics are not a concern (like for an upper back tooth), we highly recommend Gold Crowns.
Reasons for crowns:
What does getting a crown involve?
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.
At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.