Dental crowns are caps made of various materials, that is placed over part of your existing tooth. Once fitted and in place a crown will be cemented to your tooth and you will no longer be able to see your real tooth. There are a number of reasons why people may get a dental crown. They can be used to help strengthen a weakened or damaged tooth, can support a dental bridge, or can be used for purely cosmetic reasons. Crowns can be used for both children and adults and likewise can be placed on both primary teeth and permanent adult teeth. Because of the various reasons why someone may get a dental crown there are also several types of crowns available. Below, we will take a closer look at the different options of crowns available.
Porcelain or Ceramic
Dental crowns that are made of porcelain or ceramic are nice when trying to match the color of the crown to the natural color of your teeth. This is also a good option for patients that might have allergies to metals. These types of crowns are commonly used for either front or back teeth. Porcelain or ceramic crowns will give you the most natural looking crown and will blend in flawlessly when mixed within your natural teeth.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
These crowns have a metal base with a porcelain covering. The porcelain portion of the crown can be matched to your natural teeth. The downside of this type of crown is that often surrounding teeth experience heavier wear and tear from the crown bumping and rubbing your existing teeth. Further, sometimes the metal can start to show through the porcelain and become visible at the gum line. These crowns can be an excellent choice when using it to support a bridge because of their strength. This type of crown is also a great choice for back teeth where they will not be as visible. Compared to all porcelain or all ceramic crowns the porcelain fused to metal crowns are the next best option if you are looking for a natural looking crown.
Often, stainless steel crowns are used on primary teeth in children. The crown is fitted to form around the existing tooth. When the primary tooth eventually falls out the stainless crown will come out with the tooth naturally. These are typically used on children because they are extremely cost effective and require only one dentist visit to fit the crown in place.
Metal crowns are by far the most durable crowns available and are extremely resistant to wear and tear from chewing. These crowns can be made of gold or platinum or from base alloys (such as nickel). The biggest downside to metal crowns is that they are extremely obvious. For this reason metal crowns are usually reserved for the back molars where durability is welcomed and the crown will not be visible.
All-resin crowns are typically more cost effective than other crown materials. The downside to resin crowns though is that they can be extremely prone to chipping or cracking. Over time these crowns start to wear down and will begin to fracture. This is a less desirable crown material to the porcelain fused to metal option.
Temporary vs. Permanent
The last distinguishing factor for your crown is whether it is temporary or permanent. Temporary dental crowns are made in the dentist office while you are waiting. Usually, these crowns are made from an acrylic based material. The crown is cemented in place with a semi-permanent glue and is fully intended to be used only for a temporary period of time. Typically these crowns will only be used until your permanent crown is created and ready to be fitted to your tooth.