A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a tooth that needs repairing or restoring back to its ideal form and anatomy. It is commonly recommended when the extent of your decay or damage is too large to be repaired with bonded restorations (fillings) or other methods of restoration.
A dental crown may be used to:
- Repair decayed teeth
- Support a dental bridge as replacement of a missing tooth
- Replace defective fillings
- Restore broken or fractured teeth
- Replace teeth (in conjunction with dental implants)
Dental crowns are grouped according to the type of materials from which they are fabricated, including:
- All-metal (including gold and alloys)
- Stainless steel
Here are the different types of permanent crowns that you can choose from
Made from pure ceramic, this type of restoration has the most attractive appearance and in the hands of the right dentist and ceramist, blends seamlessly with your natural teeth. It may be fabricated from a wide range of dental ceramics suitable to each individual patient. Dentists have used ceramic crowns for decades although modern restorations use engineered type of ceramics that are more robust and aesthetic, yet at the same time require very conservative tooth preparations.
Simply put, there isn’t a better looking dental crown than an all-ceramic type. The life-like quality of a porcelain crown may be attributed to its natural looking colour, which can be matched to perfectly blend in with your adjacent teeth, and its ability to mimic the translucency of real tooth enamel.
Compared to PFM and all-metal crowns, an all-porcelain crown has been typically considered less robust. However, modern ceramic technologies, such as e.Max porcelain, have meant that ceramic crowns can have strength properties similar to these previously mentioned materials. This is particularly important for those patients who have significant grinding wear damage to their teeth, with no previous fillings or restorations. We can rebuild these teeth with highly aesthetic, high-strength, and long-lasting restorations with the removal of only a small amount of the natural tooth enamel.
Modern ceramics not only mimic natural teeth with uncanny likeness, but the surface texture is also stain-resistant and retains the natural colour and vibrancy throughout the life of the restoration. The strong material allows the crown to withstand biting and chewing forces that are similar to that of a healthy natural tooth.
The least expensive of all dental crown types, resin or plastic crowns lack the glass-like aesthetic qualities that porcelain crowns have. The material also stains over time and is not as strong or natural looking as their porcelain/ ceramic counterparts.
A cross between metal and porcelain crowns, PFMs consist of a metal substructure that is layered with a veneer of porcelain, fused to the metal in a high heat oven. This hybrid composition gives the crown a tough underlying structure with a tooth-coloured exterior. PFM crowns are strong and may be used for either front or back teeth. However, whilst they can be closely matched to natural teeth, the metal substructure inhibits the transmission of light through the tooth and crown, and these types of restorations can look quite dull and opaque. The underlying metal can also show through as a dark edge underneath the tooth’s gum line, or indeed, be fully exposed in the event of some soft tissue (gum) recession.
This type of crown is made out of metals or alloys, including gold, palladium, nickel or chromium. In the past, it made an excellent choice for teeth that are expected to withstand heavy chewing and biting forces, usually molars located in the back of the mouth. However, the latest ceramic technology has provided an ideal substitute for teeth of this nature. Of course, the biggest disadvantage of all-metal crowns is the colour that makes it unsuitable for those teeth that are aesthetically on display.
To find out how Dr Dunn can make a dramatic difference to your smile with dental crowns and other cosmetic procedures, contact our friendly Sydney CBD Clinic at (02) 9247 1394.