If you have a tooth that’s damaged, your dentist might recommend a dental crown. These tooth coverings — sometimes referred to as a tooth “cap” — serve to restore and strengthen the tooth structure. There are several different types of dental crowns available, usually made from metal or porcelain, and they are designed to restore your tooth’s natural shape, appearance and function.
7 Types of Dental Crowns
The two most common types of dental crowns are porcelain crowns and metal crowns. However, there are other options also available.
1. Porcelain Dental Crowns
Porcelain crowns are a common type of all-ceramic crown because they look so much like the natural tooth. They are ideal for use on front teeth because of their cosmetic appeal.
Many porcelain crowns are made with a precious metal base which makes the crown strong and durable. The only issue with this type of crown construction is that the metal is visible at the very bottom of the tooth with a telltale gray ring. Although this isn’t as noticeable when used in the back of the mouth, many people are not happy with the aesthetic.
Some people will opt for a crown that is 100% porcelain because of this. THe option enables them to avoid the darker edge that a metal bonded porcelain crown gives. The porcelain crown will be made to perfectly match the surrounding teeth, giving it a very natural look.
However, this type of crown lacks the strength of porcelain crowns bonded to metal. So, they may need to be replaced sooner. You can expect porcelain crowns to last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, depending on the wear and tear placed on the crown during that time.
2. Metal Dental Crowns
A metal crown is generally made of gold, chromium or nickel alloys. This type of crown is very strong and requires a minimal amount of the tooth structure to be removed before placement. They are long-lasting and designed to withstand the forces of chewing and biting. They rarely chip or break. So, they are a crown option that should last for at least 20 years.
They are particularly well-suited for people who have strong chewing habits or who clench or grind their teeth. They are not an aesthetic choice for most people — even for crowns in the back of the mouth that may not be highly visible because they are made of metal. Most people choose porcelain fused to metal instead.
3. Stainless Steel Dental Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are generally used for children to restore their baby teeth. This type of crown might be placed after a pulpotomy treatment or when a traditional filling is likely to fail. They are not designed to last very long — usually about 4 years.
4. All-Resin Dental Crowns
Restorations made only of resin materials cost less than metal and porcelain crowns, but because of their vulnerability to fractures and wear, they don’t last as long as other types of dental crowns. The resin material used to make these crowns is thinner and more fragile than porcelain and metal, and dental crowns have a lifetime of about 5 to 15 years. Some dentists will use this type of crown on a decayed or damaged baby tooth. However, they generally do not recommend them for permanent teeth.
5. Gold Dental Crowns
Gold crowns are not 100% gold but are usually a combination of gold, copper and other metals. The main advantages of gold crowns are their strength and durability. Some dentists might recommend them for teeth in the back of the mouth because the crown is not likely to be visible. On average, you can expect to have your gold crown for at least 20 to 40 years.
Most people do not like the way they look, making gold crowns a rather unpopular choice. There is also a slight risk of allergic reaction or swelling with this type of crown.
6. Zirconia Dental Crowns
Zirconium is a relatively new material used for dental crowns. This type of dental crown combines the strength of metal with the cosmetic look of porcelain crowns, and you can expect them to last for 10 to 15 years. They have a translucency that makes them look very much like a natural tooth.
Due to their strength, they can be hard on the teeth they bite against, causing undue wear. On the plus side, they are biocompatible and less likely to cause allergic reactions in patients.
Zirconia dental crowns can be made in-office, eliminating the need to send a crown to a dental lab for rendering. Patients appreciate the convenience of one-appointment dental crowns.
7. e.Max: Lithium Disilicate Dental Crowns
There is a new type of crown called e.Max that is made of lithium disilicate which is a light and thin material. This is an all-ceramic dental crown that has an excellent aesthetic, making them a great choice for both the front and back of the mouth. They are also durable and strong, lasting anywhere from 5 to 15 years, depending on how well cared for they are. The main drawback to this type of dental crown is that they are usually more expensive.
Reasons You Might Need a Dental Crown
Your dentist might recommend a dental crown for a variety of reasons. Some of those include:
- Covering a tooth that is damaged or decayed. This often happens with a tooth that has a large filling that has become worn or damaged. When there is not enough tooth structure left to replace the filling, a dental crown can save the tooth.
- Protecting a weak tooth. This is often necessary after a root canal. The root canal procedure removes the pulp of the tooth along with the infection, the remaining tooth structure is brittle and weak. A dental crown will protect it and ensure you have normal chewing function with that tooth.
- Improving the look of a discolored tooth. If you have a tooth that is discolored and shows when you smile, a dental crown can restore your smile.
- Capping a dental implant. Dental crowns are used for the final step of a dental implant, giving you the form and function of a natural tooth.
If you think you have a compromised tooth and might need a dental crown, contact the team at West Coast Dental today.
Colgate – Types of Dental Crowns
Mouth Healthy – Crowns
Healthline – Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Dental Crown
Dentaly.org – e.Max Crowns: Everything You Need to Know About Ceramic Dental Crowns