What is a Crown?
A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a 'cap'.
These Dental Caps are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling.
A crown could be used for a number of other reasons, for instance:
You may have discoloured Fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
You may have had a Root Canal Treatment which would need a cap to protect what is left of the tooth
It may help to hold a Bridge or Denture in place
They can be made from:
Porcelain (or other type of dental ceramic)
Metal Alloy (a gold or other precious, semi-precious or non-precious alloy).
A combination of dental ceramic and metal alloy (porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns).
Each of the above types has its own characteristic advantages and disadvantages, and therefore its own set of most-suited applications as described in the next section. The price of Dental Crowns can vary depending on the materials.
Can control size, shape, texture and colour as they are custom-made for each tooth
On back teeth, restore aesthetics andfunction to broken, cracked or filled teeth
Can be used on damaged or broken teeth
More expensive than fillings
Involves more tooth reduction or preparation than Veneers
Can chip or break, but they are much stronger than Veneers
Metal crowns are made of gold, or more precisely, a gold alloy. There are a number of different types of alloys that can be used for crown fabrication. Some of these metals are silver in colour, rather than yellow like gold.
Gold crowns (and metal crowns in general) are very strong and can be expected to withstand even the heaviest biting and chewing forces well. They will not chip. It would be uncharacteristic for a gold one to break. And of all of the different types of dental caps, gold crowns probably have the greatest potential for lasting the longest.
About the only disadvantage of metal dental crowns is their appearance, and because of this, they're not usually placed on teeth that are readily visible when the person smiles. They can, however, make a great choice for some back teeth, especially bottom ones, which usually show when laughing.
Dental crowns that show prominently when a person smiles are usually either made entirely out of porcelain (or dental ceramic) or else have a veneering of porcelain on their surface (porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns).
Due to their life-like translucency, ceramics can be the most cosmetically pleasing of all of the different types of dental crowns. And for this reason, they often make an excellent choice for restoring front teeth.
While they can be a good choice for front teeth, due to the hefty chewing and biting forces that humans can generate, all-ceramic dental crowns may not be the best choice for some back-tooth applications.