Dental crowns, also known as “caps,” preserve the functionality of damaged teeth. A dental crown may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay or replace a pre-existing crown. Dental Crown completely covers the tooth, restoring and protecting. Dental Crowns can also be used for Cosmetic purposes, enhancing the appearance of a tooth that is discolored or an unusual shape. The purpose of a dental crown is to encase a needy tooth with a custom-designed material.
A recent technology, CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design/manufacturing technology) has evolved to display a 3-D picture of the teeth. A restoration is then created through milling of a ceramic block.
The three predominant choices of restorative materials for the full coverage crowns are:
- All-ceramic (all-porcelain)
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns provide for a strong, durable and esthetic treatment option. One of the key factors for the esthetic and functional success of this type of crown is ensuring the preparation of the underlying tooth structure provides adequate space for the appropriate thickness of the material selected. Additionally, the artistic skill of the laboratory technologist creating the crown will determine its esthetic appeal.
One consideration in the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown is that these crowns may tend to show the underlying metal or gold margin at the gum line as gums recede over time. Some patients opt for this type of crown, but replace the crown at a later date in order to maintain a higher esthetic benefit.
All-Ceramic Teeth Crowns
The predominant material choice for all-ceramic crowns today is either zirconia, or aluminous materials. They provide a metal-free esthetic option with a number of benefits. By eliminating the need for the supportive metal core, an esthetic all-ceramic crown can be created with a reduced thickness of material.
Additionally, the elimination of the metal core allows for light transmission through the porcelain for better optical, life-like properties and a higher level of esthetics.
Although not as popular a treatment choice for esthetic reasons, gold crowns are still indicated in some instances. For example, patients with strong bites and those with parafunctional habits (such as grinding or clenching) might be better served with a gold crown. The traditional restorative material can provide stronger support to the remaining healthy tooth structure. Gold crowns offer a level of durability that is appropriate for teeth located in the back of the mouth (such as the molars), where they will not be highly visible. Gold crowns tend to offer greater longevity and require less preparation than porcelain and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. When chewing, gold tends to be less abrasive to the opposing tooth than porcelain. This helps to prevent wearing of the teeth.