If a tooth has more extensive decay, a dental crown may be the ideal aesthetic and functional restorative solution.
Crowns are used whenever teeth have more damage or decay than can be repaired with a dental filling. With a dental crown, you’ll preserve your natural tooth and prevent bone loss in the jaw and restore proper function to your bite. Depending on the material you choose, a crown can also be an aesthetic replacement for a damaged tooth, blending in perfectly with the rest of your smile. We’re experts when it comes to providing these types of natural-looking restorations.
The first step in getting a crown is to take an impression so we have an accurate model of your teeth and bite. This model is used to fabricate your temporary crown, ensuring that it looks and functions just like your natural tooth. The affected tooth is then prepared by removing all areas of damage and decay, then a second (digital or analog) impres sion is taken, this time of the prepared tooth, which allows us to create a crown that fits securely. A temporary crown is placed while you wait for your permanent restoration.
Once your crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory, you’ll come back to our office for a second appointment to have your crown bonded onto your prepared tooth. With proper care and maintenance, crowns can last for decades or even a lifetime.
The most common types of crowns are:
Emax crowns are made of Lithium Disilicate glass. These crowns are one of the most aesthetically pleasing crowns available in dentistry for patients today. They are made with layered tooth-colored porcelain providing translucency and a realistic look that matches as closely to natural teeth as possible. Emax crowns do not come with any metal inside the crown so they’re often used for teeth that are visible when you smile. These crowns are not as strong as other options, so they’re not the best choice for molars as molars are where you put the strongest amount of pressure when you bite and grind your food.
Zirconia crowns are made of Zirconium Dioxide metal. Although Zirconium Dioxide is considered a metal, Zirconia crowns are considered ceramic crowns because they have the appearance of being ceramic and the dark metal layer inside the crown is not visible. Zirconia crowns are one of the most aesthetically pleasing crowns available for molars (back teeth) while providing great strength. These crowns can be a great option for patients that grind or clench their teeth.
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns
These crowns combine the strength of metal crowns with the aesthetic appearance of ceramic, making them a popular option for many patients.
Gold Alloys, Gold Crowns
Gold alloys are the most conservative material available for dental crowns. Minimal shaving of the tooth is required and is best used for the molars. They’re a good fit for patients who have insufficient tooth structure to support other types of crowns. Another option to choose gold crowns would be for the strength provided. It’s a great alternative for patients that grind and clench their teeth. With today’s technology and materials available for crowns, a popular alternative to gold crowns are Zirconia Crowns, providing patients the strength of a gold crown and the esthetics of tooth-colored porcelain.
Base Metal Alloys
These crowns are strong and resistant to corrosion. They’re often used for molars and when there is insufficient tooth structure to support other types of crowns.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Crowns
Is it painful to have a crown put on your tooth?
Getting a dental crown is no more painful than getting a dental filling. The affected tooth and the area surrounding it will be numbed before we start any work, so you won’t feel anything while we prepare your tooth. After the procedure, you may have some sensitivity and soreness, but this typically doesn’t last beyond a few days.
Can your teeth rot under a crown?
Yes, decay can occur under a crown, which is why maintenance is so important. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss once a day, and visit for dental exams and cleanings every six months. During your dental check-ups, we’ll make sure your crowns are in good shape.
Is a crown better than a filling?
Dental fillings can only be used on teeth with small amounts of decay. When decay is extensive, it’s not possible to remove all of the damaged areas and use dental fillings to repair them—your tooth would be weak and prone to breakage. Crowns are better for these situations.
What if there is not enough tooth for a crown?
If there is not enough tooth for a crown, we have a few options. Often, a metal alloy crown can be used even if there’s not sufficient tooth structure for other types of crowns. We can also perform a periodontal procedure called crown lengthening, which exposes more of the tooth prior to crown placement. Should these options not be a fit, you may need something called dental crown core buildup to supplement the remaining structure or the tooth may have to be extracted and replaced with a bridge or dental implant.
Do crowns on front teeth look natural?
At Belmont Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality crowns that match the rest of your smile. They look and feel so natural that you’ll likely forget you have a crown at all! We use a local dental laboratory and our doctors work closely with our laboratory technicians to provide them all the information needed to make your front teeth look natural.