Dental Crowns are one of the tools dentists use to help protect weak teeth, preventing them from breaking and further disrupting the mouth. They are used for restoring an already broken tooth, or one that is excessively worn. Crowns can also be used to keep a dental bridge in place or cover discolored teeth or implants. These tooth-shaped caps are like putting a hard hat over your tooth to help refurbish its size, shape, color or strength. They are cemented in place and should completely cover the portion of the tooth above the gum line.
There are numerous types of dental crowns available. Depending on the tooth and why it needs repair, your dentist will choose the best type of crown to use. The metal crown was once the most common type, made of gold or other alloys or base metals. Metal crowds are designed to fit over nearly complete teeth, so there is no need to remove a large portion of the existing tooth to fit these types of crown. Because they are metal they are difficult to break and won't chip. However, because of the metallic color they are falling out of favor, even for use in the back teeth.
Porcelain-fused crowns are designed to match the color of your surrounding teeth. These are basically metal dental crowns with a white porcelain covering. While they look good, more like natural teeth, they tend to wear the opposing teeth more than other types of crowns. Resin crowns are cheaper than other types of crowns, but they wear faster. The color match can be very good as the dentist makes the resin while you're in the chair to match the color exactly. However, resin crowns can fracture and break much easier than porcelain or metal crowns. Ceramic crowns are the most natural looking and good for people with metal allergies. Like resin, they are not as strong as porcelain or metal crowns though.
Before your dentist puts on the final crown, a temporary crown of plastic, acrylic or stainless steel may be used. Most of the permanent crowns need to be molded to your tooth and built by a dental laboratory so it can be days between the initial visit and when you finally get your crown.
While no one likes going to the dentist, dental crowns can help keep your teeth and mouth in good working order, protecting weakened teeth from future damage.