A crown or in layman’s terms a “cap” provides 360 degrees of protection around a tooth and many situations occur where this is a useful restorative option. A crown is indicated when a tooth becomes damaged from a large fracture or cavity. A crown may also save a tooth from catastrophic failure when deep cracks are present through the enamel into underlying tooth structure. In addition, crowns are indicated in most situations where a tooth has received root canal treatment. Finally, another common use of a crown is to restore cosmetic defects such as deep staining, discolored restorations, or in some instances to help straighten teeth.
A crown can be fabricated from ceramic, metal, or a combination of both. Today, most of our patients receive all ceramic crowns which are made of a special type of porcelain, zirconia, or a combination of both. We prefer all-ceramic materials due to their enhanced strength, biocompability, and very low incidence of chipping. Gold is a great restorative material for crowns as well due to its proven track record in the field of dentistry, strength, and excellent biocompability. Gold can be used in the back of the mouth when esthetics are typically not a concern.
Fabrication of a crown typically consists of two patient visits. The first visit includes removal of decay or broken portions of tooth structure and replacement with a core material. Core material is a biocompatible substructure restoring lost tooth structure and remains under the crown to help hold it in place long-term. Also, at the first visit an impression for the dental laboratory will be taken, and this is used to custom fabricate a crown matching your existing teeth for optimal esthetics. A temporary crown is also made at this appointment. The temporary crown is worn for approximately 1-2 weeks, and then the patient will return to the office for the 2nd shorter visit (usually 15-30 minutes) to have the final crown seated.
Crowns are a versatile long-term restorative option and just like natural teeth require home-care and regular dental check-ups and cleanings, feel free to call our office with any questions or to schedule a consultation appointment to find out if a crown is right for you.