What's a Dental Crown?
There are numerous instances when a natural tooth's structure gets affected. The structure may have disintegrated due to a large dental cavity or caries that was ignored for a very long time, or the structure may have cracked, or chipped off, due to an impact, and so forth. In all such instances, it becomes necessary that an artificial encapsulation be placed over the affected tooth structure to protect it from further disintegration or breakage. This artificially created encapsulation, or cap, or shield which looks in appearance like the very tooth it is bound to protect, and that which fits over the existing tooth structure is referred to as a dental crown.
Instances when a dental crown becomes a necessity
1. When dental caries or cavities are too large to be managed with just a filling, and not much of the natural tooth's structure remains.
2. When consecutive numbers of teeth are missing, a dental bridge becomes a necessity to fill in for the missing teeth.
3. A dental implant is completed with the placing of a dental crown.
4. When a tooth is worn out, has become weak, or is cracked from an impact.
5. The root canal treatment ends with placement of the dental crown.
6. Presence of badly formed tooth, or discoloured tooth that needs correction through cosmetic intervention.
7. In pediatric dentistry, when a milk tooth becomes decayed, a crown becomes necessary when it is too early for the tooth to fall out.
What are dental crowns made of, and which particular one to select?
There is a dental crown for every type of tooth. So, dental crowns are never limited by the shape of the tooth. Cost becomes the major factor in deciding which material you would want the crown to be made of. Crowns are made from a variety of different materials, but the choice of the material used comes with a price. The following list captures the different types of materials used in making the crowns based on the cost:
Crowns made of stainless steel are the cheapest. They are strong and mimic the function of the natural teeth, but the major drawback is that they do not resemble the natural tooth in terms of color and appearance, and do not hold any aesthetic appeal. There is no hiding the fact that you are using a dental crown.
Metallic crowns are specifically in reference to crowns made of alloys having a high content of either gold or platinum. Cost wise they are as costly as the quantity of the precious metal that is used in its making. Since they are metallic they are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of biting and chewing that goes on within one's mouth. They too have the disadvantage of not having the color of natural teeth. But, some take pride in showing off the fact that they have teeth that are set in gold.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
These crowns find a balance between having metallic teeth, and yet have the color of natural teeth. These crowns are a notch costlier than plain stainless steel crowns. Though these crowns have a closeness to natural teeth in terms of its color, a dark metal line is revealed at the end of the crown close to the gums. This line gives away the fact that a dental crown is in use.
Crowns made of this material are comparatively costlier than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. They look more like natural teeth, but they have a tendency to fracture or wear out in the long run, and hence are not as durable as the porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
All Ceramic or All Porcelain
These are an ideal choice when you have to balance aesthetics and cost. They resemble natural teeth in terms of colour and appearance. One can never distinguish between natural teeth and an all-ceramic or all-porcelain crown. It's also well-suited for people who have allergies towards metals. They are not as strong as metallic crowns, but they'll last long if taken care of, in a proper way.
They are the costliest of all the materials that are used to make dental crowns. They are a very recent addition. Zirconia is known for its strength, durability, and aesthetics. Crowns made of Zirconia are the closest to natural teeth in terms of the translucent nature of the material. Crowns made of Zirconia are as good as natural teeth, and are almost indistinguishable from the natural ones.
A crown is a replacement for a missing tooth, and they play the exact role that the natural tooth would have played in a person's mouth. Your dentist will be the best guide to help choose the material that goes into making your tooth's crown. Never say no to crowns; missing teeth can significantly affect your digestion, and compromised digestion can in turn affect your health. Say no to missing teeth, and get your crown today!