A lot of people need, or would only like, natural-looking dental crowns. The problem is that they don’t know what they are and which type may be best suited to their individual needs.
To address this issue, we’ll be taking a closer look at what dental crowns are, along with some of the key reasons you may choose to have them. Later in the article, I’ll review some of the key differences between the most popular types, i.e. zirconia and porcelain.
Remember, there are a variety of reasons which may justify your need for dental crowns. Just one of those reasons maybe you wish to have a complete smile makeover.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” placed over a tooth to restore its strength, shape, size, and appearance. The cap looks, feels, and functions exactly like an original tooth.
It covers the entire visible part of your tooth.
As you might wonder about having them, here are a few good reasons to ask your dentist about crowns:
Tooth Decay – if you have weakened or severely decayed teeth, crowns can serve to add strength, durability, and function to old teeth.
Broken or Cracked Teeth – after many years of use or simply just biting down on something too hard can cause teeth to break, crack or chip. If there is no need for extraction, a crown can restore aesthetics and structure to the original tooth.
Wearing – as we age, our teeth gradually wear down and get old looking. For example, the edges flatten out, and the shape and color can change. Crowns can restore a younger, more youthful look and give you back your self-confidence.
Dental Bridges – Missing teeth? In need of bridgework? Dental crowns not only offer anchoring support the bridge from both sides but also form the individual teeth units of the bridge.
Misshaped, Malalignment, Discoloration – Do you eat poorly? drink sugary beverages? Or smoke? Bad habits like these can ruin and stain your teeth. Don’t like the shape, alignment, size, or shade of your teeth? For all the above, crowns make the perfect solution to give you back your long-awaited Dream Smile!.
Implants – crowns are used to cover dental implants which are permanent restorations for lost or missing teeth. Implants are screwed into the jaw bone, and crowns are placed upon the implants. Dental crowns are either single units or part of more extensive jaw restorations.
Root Canal – crowns are used to restore root canal treated teeth and add protection from the possible need for follow up root canal treatment.
Now, we are going to review some of the basic types of crowns you can have and how to choose what best suits your needs.
Dental crowns come in several types, and the main difference between them is the type of materials used.
Some types of crowns are better for your front, smile teeth, some better for your back, chewing teeth and some for both back and front.
Ultimately, the type of crown you choose is up to you, but your dentist will make recommendations best suited to your individual needs.
Another difference, of course, is the cost. This also varies from crown to crown, and hopefully, this will guide you into making the right decision.
Remember, a dental crown is a long term solution, and choosing the cheapest solution is not something that I would always necessarily recommend. Of course, if it fits your needs, then that’s fine. On the other hand, paying a little more for a solution that will look great and give you a great smile is well worth the extra cost.
Metal such as gold, palladium, nickel, or chromium has been used over the years as dental crowns because they provide excellent durability and strength. Metal crowns wear down very slowly over many years – a process similar to the enamel on real teeth. This is why you may wish to consider them for your more non-visible, back teeth. Although these restorations last a long time, due to their poor aesthetics (metallic color) we don’t recommend them for your visible, front teeth. Besides, some patients are allergic to metal and can develop a reaction, so this is not a viable option. Most dental clinics today won’t recommend full metal crowns as the solution of choice. Instead, they’re most likely to support one of the answers below. Gold is a more expensive material, so, if you decide that gold or another metal-type of a crown is best for you, you may need to calculate that into your budget.
Pure porcelain is becoming one of the most popular types of crown requested today by patients. The porcelain material can be made to look, feel and function exactly like your original teeth. From an aesthetic point of view, they are also the most pleasing to the eye and natural looking matching every aspect of your original teeth. ie. size, shape and color. The downside to all porcelain is that they are not as strong a material as metal. Proper TLC is a must if you want them to last a long time without chipping or cracking. Because, aesthetically, they are the most beautiful type of crown available, you can also expect to pay a higher premium for them. A price well worth the cost if you’re looking to get the whitest ‘Hollywood’ dream smile!
PFM crowns are the most commonly recommended crown today in dental clinics. With a strong, durable inner metal base and an outer porcelain cap, this type of dental crown combines the properties of the above two crown types. The inner base metal serves to add strength and durability(similar to metal crowns), while the outer porcelain is translucent and matches the aesthetics of your original teeth. For these reasons, porcelain-metal-crowns can be the optimal solution for all your teeth – both front and back.
One downside to PFM crowns is that their aesthetics, albeit very nice, are usually not as bright as all-porcelain crowns. This is due to the inner metal base layer that tends to diminish transparency and give a slightly grayer appearance. This only makes a real difference if you are looking to achieve a super white effect. Another downside is that over time, with a receding gum line, the inner metal layer can become apparent and give a faintly grayish tint to your smile. Finally, as with all-metal crowns, some people develop allergic reactions or have a sensitivity to any metal material being in their mouth.
With regards to costs, PFM crowns are the most affordable in comparison to the other types.
Having an inner layer made from robust, white zirconium dioxide, and an outer layer of porcelain, these zirconia crowns provide the optimal solution for both partial and full mouth restorations. The hard inner layer of zirconia is white and provides similar strength and durability as metal. The outer, porcelain layer provides the spectacular transparency that you can expect from beautiful natural, healthy teeth. Thus, many dentists will recommend zirconia crowns to restore your smile – both front and back teeth to their maximum. Zirconia crowns usually cost a bit more than PFM crowns, but not as much as all-porcelain. Zirconium dioxide is entirely biocompatible, and there aren’t any downsides.
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