A dental crown, also known as tooth cap, is a dental prosthesis that is used to restore the shape and function of damaged or broken teeth. The dental crown is needed when the natural tooth crown is damaged due to dental caries or trauma and the tooth filling is no longer a possible treatment. When the tooth is covered with a dental crown, the original shape of the tooth, the normal chewing function, speech, and aesthetic appearance will be restored. The dental crown procedure usually requires 2 visits.
When is a dental crown needed?
The dental crown is an effective solution to restore the shape, function, and aesthetics of damaged or broken teeth. It may be needed in the following cases:
- Weakened tooth: to protect a severely damaged, worn down, or broken tooth. The tooth may become weak due to dental caries, trauma, or cracked tooth syndrome.
- Tooth with large restoration: to support a tooth with large restoration or with a large cavity that can’t be filled.
- Replace a missing tooth: it can be placed over a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. Also, it can be used to hold a dental bridge in place.
- After root canal treatment: the tooth becomes brittle after root canal treatment.
- Cosmetic reasons: to cover a severely discolored tooth or tooth stains that won’t go away with professional cleaning and whitening. Also, it can be used to cover a misshapen tooth.
Types of Dental Crown
The dental crown can be classified according to the material used. Each type has differences in the method of manufacture, stability, aesthetics, and durability. You can decide for yourself which type of dental crown should be used. Also, various factors such as stress level and aesthetics play a role in the decision.
- Stainless steel: it is commonly used in children for the protection of primary teeth. It is a prefabricated crown and requires a single dental visit for placement. Also, it can be used for permanent teeth as a temporary solution.
- Metal: it is mainly used in the posterior, non-visible area (molar teeth). This type is made of metal or gold alloy. It is characterized by stability and long durability.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM): it is a hybrid between metal and porcelain crowns. The underlying metal provides strength and stability. The porcelain has a great aesthetic appeal. The porcelain-fused-to-metal crown can be matched with the color of adjacent teeth. However, it can cause wear on the opposing teeth. This type can be used to cover anterior and posterior teeth.
- All-porcelain or all-ceramic: this type is made entirely of ceramics. Ceramics are not resistant to breakage as metals. So, this crown usually need to be made thicker and more tooth hard substance should be removed during the dental crown procedure to make a room for the crown. This type can be used to cover anterior and posterior teeth and suitable for people with metal allergies. Both all-ceramic and porcelain-fused-to-metal provide a natural color match.
- All-resin: it is used as a long-term temporary crown. It is prone to fracture and wear down over time.
Dental Crown Procedure: How It Works?
The dental crown procedure usually requires 2 visits. The 1st visit involves tooth examination and preparation. The 2nd visit involves the placement of the dental crown.
Dental crown procedure 1st visit
At the first appointment, the dentist will examine the tooth and may take a few x-rays. If the tooth has dental caries, the dentist will remove caries under local anesthesia and builds-up the tooth with a tooth filling or performs a root canal treatment if caries reached the pulp (root canal treatment may require more than one visit). Then, the dentist will determine the color of natural tooth (in the case of porcelain-fused-to-metal or all-ceramic crown) and prepare the tooth to make a room for the crown. Then, the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth, surrounding teeth, and gingiva. He/She will send this impression to the dental lab, so the permanent dental crown can be made. A temporary crown will be placed on the prepared tooth to protect the tooth and allow a normal chewing function.
Dental crown procedure 2nd visit
During the second appointment, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be permanently cemented in place with a special adhesive. It is important that the dental crown fits perfectly on the tooth to avoid any complications.