What are dental crowns?
A dental crown – also called a cap – is a covering that is put over a damaged tooth. Just as a cast protects a broken leg, a dental crown provides protection and restores a tooth’s function. It can strengthen the tooth and improve its appearance. A crown is usually indicated for a tooth that is so severely broken that it cannot be treated with dental fillings. The crown holds the cracked and broken pieces of the tooth together to prevent further damage.
Other reasons to use a dental crown include:
- to protect a tooth with a large filling
- to protect a tooth after root canal therapy
- to hold a bridge in place
- to protect a dental implant
- to improve the appearance of a tooth that has an unpleasant color or shape
A dental crown is customized to perfectly fit and match the shape of the tooth it covers. In the first step of the process, the surface of the tooth is cleaned, and then a mold of the tooth is taken to be used in the manufacture of the dental crown. While the permanent crown is being processed in a dental laboratory, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth.
When the permanent dental crown is ready, a second dental visit is scheduled. At that visit, the temporary crown is removed, the surface of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, and the permanent crown is cemented over the surface of the tooth.
Dental crowns are made from a variety of materials. Stainless steel crowns are used for temporary tooth protection. They cover and protect the entire tooth and are preferred for use with children. Crowns are also made from several different metals, such as gold alloy,chromium, palladium, and nickel. Metal crowns stand up well to biting and chewing. They also last longer than those made from other materials.
Crowns may also be made from pure ceramic or porcelain, which maintains the natural look of the tooth. Ceramic and porcelain are especially ideal for anyone who is allergic to metal. However, they only provide a certain degree of protection for a specific time.
Finally, Zirconia caps and milled crowns are digitally made, eliminating the need for temporary crowns and frequent dental visits. Zirconia caps and crowns are manufactured using an advanced dental machine that can produce crowns right away.
Crowns and caps last for an average of five to eight years, depending on the type of material used and the person’s oral hygiene. Proper oral hygiene and good dental care are important for maximizing the life of the crown.