Why do I need a dental crown?

Nobody ever anticipates losing a tooth, but by using replacements like dental crowns, a dentist can restore your smile to what it was once before. So what exactly is a crown? In the dental world, a crown is the visible part of the tooth covered by the enamel. When a tooth becomes decayed, cracked, or breaks, a dentist can place an artificial dental crown to cover the tooth and prevent further damage. This procedure can also restore a tooth’s natural shape and size, improving functionality and increasing its strength.

What are dental crowns made of?

If you’ve ever wanted to own a golden crown, now you can—but in your mouth. Materials used to make dental crowns may include the following:

1. All Metal

Good to know: All-metal crowns are made from gold, palladium, nickel or chromium. They’re a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

Pros: Metal crowns rarely chip or break, and they last the longest in terms of wear down. These crowns also require the least removal of tooth structure before placement and are gentle on your adjacent teeth.

Cons: Some of the metals used, like gold, are more expensive than other options. And the reason they are mostly used on back teeth is because metal can be very visible in your smile.

2. All Ceramic

Good to know: Ceramic is a versatile material that can be used for both the front and back teeth.

Pros: Ceramic matches the natural color of your teeth the most. It’s also a good choice for patients with allergies to certain materials used in other types of crowns.

Cons: Ceramic wears down adjacent teeth more than metal and resin crowns, but it is less abrasive than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. Most ceramic crowns need a thick layer of porcelain to maintain crown strength—which means removal of more tooth structure than, for instance, metal crowns.

3. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM)

Good to know: PFM matches the color of the tooth right next to it.

Pros: PFM is stronger than regular porcelain, and it blends in well with the look, shape, and function of your natural teeth. Second only to metal crowns in terms of wear down, the hard and durable metal core bonds strongly to your natural tooth.

Cons: PFM can wear down adjacent teeth more than resin or metal crowns, and the porcelain portion of the crown can chip or break easily.

4. Stainless Steel

Good to know: Stainless steel is only used to restore baby teeth or when normal cavity fillings, such as amalgam fillings, are likely to fail. They are sometimes placed after a pulpotomy treatment.

Pros: Stainless steel doesn’t require many dental visits to fit and cement. It’s the most cost-effective dental crown option for primary teeth that eventually fall out.

Cons: Irritations can occur due to the nickel inside the steel, and some patients are put off by the. unnatural metallic color.

5. All Resin Materials

Good to know: These are a metal-free alternative to stainless steel temporary crowns.

Pros: Resin is the least expensive crown type. It resembles the natural color of teeth more than stainless steel crowns, so can be a good option when you need temporary crowns.

Cons: Unfortunately resin is more prone to chips, breaks, wear and tear, and it doesn’t last very long.

To determine which type of crown is best suited for you, a dentist will consider the location and function of the damaged tooth, including how much of the tooth actually shows when you smile and the exact color and shade of the adjacent teeth. Other factors include whether there are any signs of jaw clenching or teeth grinding, which may influence which type of crown material is best for you.

When do people need dental crowns?

After getting a root canal, a dental crown can strengthen the weakened tooth structure. Severely discolored or misshapen teeth may also require a dental crown to improve appearance. If your dentist recommends extracting a tooth that’s become irreparably decayed or damaged, a dental crown can replace the missing tooth. Crowns can protect severely worn down teeth from fracturing or restore an already broken tooth. Because of increased sensitivity, fractured teeth may also require a crown to relieve tooth pain and hold the pieces together, while also making the tooth stronger. Since dental implants can only be a replacement for missing roots, placing a crown on top of it will allow you to speak and chew normally.

Ready to get a dental crown?

Now that you know what a dental crown is, what it’s made of, and instances when you may need a tooth crown,  are you ready to get one? Monroe Family Dentistry is a trusted, compassionate dental practice serving the Greenville and Taylors communities. If you have any questions or concerns about getting a dental crown, feel free to call us. We’ll give you what we believe is the best and most honest advice, with no pressure attached. And should you wish to book an appointment online, you can do so right here on our website. We look forward to helping you and your family achieve brighter, healthier smiles.