Dental crowns or caps are tooth-shaped prostheses that slide over a damaged tooth, thus replacing its durability, function, and appearance. You can get a crown for all sorts of situations. Crowns can
- Hold a dental bridge in place
- Protect a tooth that's had a root canal
- Hold together a tooth that is decayed or cracked
- Cover the abutment of a dental implant
- Restore aesthetics on a stained tooth
If you've never had a crown before, you may be surprised that, like fillings, there many different materials to choose from. Here are the pros and cons of different dental crowns.
Porcelain is an extremely popular material because it looks most like your natural teeth. If you need to cover an anterior tooth or one seen when you smile, then porcelain is a great option. Porcelain looks similar to your other teeth because it's hue and shine.
Porcelain is fairly durable, but the downside is it's not great for molars or for individuals with bruxism. If you grind your teeth or chew hard foods, then the porcelain crown can break. Porcelain is also more expensive than other options.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
A porcelain-fused-to-metal crown is like regular porcelain, except there is metal underneath to increase the durability. Like porcelain, this option does look very natural except for a slight dark line at the gum line where the metal can show through. If you have a gummy smile, then you may not want to go with this crown since that dark line will show.
Gold is incredibly strong and a great option for molars and people with bruxism. When you get a cap, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel to fit the prostheses over the tooth. The biggest benefit of gold is that it requires the least amount of enamel removal before it is placed. The biggest downsides, arguably, is its aesthetics.
Like gold, metal alloy is incredibly strong and does not chip. But again, you do lose the aesthetics of porcelain, so metal alloy is often used for back teeth.
Resin crowns are the least durable crowns out there. The main benefit is that they are much more affordable than other materials.
Whatever material you choose, keep in mind that you will get a temporary crown before a permanent one. Temporary crowns aren't very strong so be sure to chew carefully. When you floss, slide the string through your teeth instead of pulling up. If you lift the floss straight up, it could catch on the temporary crown and pop it up. Your permanent crown will be made in a lab in the meantime.
If you haven't scheduled an appointment to place a crown, contact a dentist like Rutherford Gregory S DDS for more information.