A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that restores a decayed, broken, weak or worn-down tooth. Dentists also use crowns to cover dental implants and root canal-treated teeth. Made from a variety of materials, including metal, resin and porcelain,
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap. Dentists use crowns to restore weak, broken or decayed teeth.
A crown fits over your entire tooth, like a snug hat. To ensure a proper fit, a dentist will need to remove a small amount of enamel before bonding your new crown in place.
Dental technicians craft crowns from a variety of materials, including resin, metal and porcelain.
When would you need a dental crown?
Crowns serve several purposes. You may need a dental crown to:
Strengthen a weak tooth.
Protect and support a cracked tooth.
Restore a worn-down or broken tooth.
Hold a dental bridge in place.
Cover a severely stained or discolored tooth.
Cover a root canal-treated tooth.
Cover a dental implant.
Types of dental crowns
There are many types of dental crowns. The kind that’s right for you depends on your personal preferences and unique oral health needs.
Dental technicians use several metals to make dental crowns, including gold, palladium, nickel and chromium. Metal crowns rarely chip or break, last the longest in terms of wear and only require a small amount of enamel removal. They can also withstand biting and chewing forces.
The metallic color is the main drawback of this type of crown. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns combine the durability of metal and the natural look of porcelain. Dentists can match these crowns to the shade of your own teeth.
Despite their strength, PFM crowns have some drawbacks. For example, the porcelain coating may chip off over time, exposing the metal underneath. In addition, PFM crowns may gradually wear down the enamel on your opposing teeth (the teeth that touch your crown when you close your mouth).
PFM crowns last almost as long as metal crowns. They can restore both front and back teeth.
Pressed ceramic crowns
A pressed ceramic crown has a hard inner core. It’s similar to a PFM, but the core is ceramic instead of metal. To make this inner core, a technician melts and presses ceramic in an oven at a very high temperature. Next, they add multiple layers of porcelain. Like all-porcelain crowns, pressed ceramic crowns mimic the translucency of natural tooth enamel.
Pressed ceramic crowns have the same drawbacks as PFM crowns. The layers of ceramic can chip away over time. Dentists use pressed ceramic crowns on front and back teeth.
All-ceramic or porcelain crowns
All-ceramic or porcelain crowns mimic the appearance of tooth enamel more than any other crown type. They’re also a good choice if you have metal allergies.
Lab technicians use many different materials to make ceramic crowns, but one of the most popular is zirconium dioxide. Zirconia crowns are extremely durable and can withstand heavier forces than other types of ceramic crowns. They’re also gentle on your opposing teeth, resulting in less enamel wear.