When a tooth is misshapen, discoloured or moderately damaged, it can ruin your smile and negatively affect your self-confidence. An alternative to covering it with a veneer or repairing it with bonding is to place a crown on top of it. A crown is a hollow cap made from gold, porcelain fused to gold or ceramic, which is shaped like your tooth and cemented in place.
Other reasons your dentist might recommend a crown include keeping a damaged tooth or weak tooth from further deterioration or to protect a tooth after a root canal treatment has been completed.
Dental crowns can cover front or back teeth.
The dental crown procedure
First, we take an impression of the damaged tooth and surrounding area to use when building your crown. We then shape the damaged tooth to make room for the crown and place a temporary crown over top of the tooth. A final impression is then taken. This impression is then sent to the dental laboratory where the permanent crown is made. When it is ready, you will return to your dentist who will cement the crown into place. This entire process takes a few weeks to complete.
Types of crowns
The location where your crown is going to be placed will determine the type of crown your dentist recommends. It could be made from a single material or a combination of materials. The most common types of crowns are:
This is a durable option with the longest track record of any material used. The downside of gold crowns is their appearance: they are easy to see, especially on front teeth, which negatively impacts aesthetics.
This is the most natural-looking option, but some of the ceramic materials are less durable than others. For example, porcelain crowns can chip and may need to be replaced more frequently than other materials like gold. Consequently, porcelain crowns are rarely used on back teeth.
This is the preferred option over porcelain crowns because they look natural and offer a comparable strength to metal. They will not chip as easily as porcelain crowns and the metal will not be visible.
The advantage of crowns
Dental crowns protect teeth from further damage, look and feel like natural teeth and provide a long-lasting treatment option.
The disadvantage of crowns
Dental crowns are a more expensive option for treating a damaged tooth.