A dental crown is a cap for a tooth, made of of metal, porcelain or ceramic.
The crown is shaped like the original tooth.
How a Crown is Used:
A crown is placed over the original tooth to improve its shape, size, and/or strength. It can even be used for aesthetic purposes, to cover a discolored or stained tooth. Crowns are used:
When a restorative procedure must remove much of a tooth (as in the case of a root canal or very large cavity) a crown is made to cover the work and restore the appearance and function of the original tooth.
A crown may cover a cracked tooth, to keep it from cracking further.
A crown may protect a filling that is in danger of becoming loose.
A dental bridge system may include tooth crowns.
A dental implant is covered by a crown.
Crown Placement Procedure:
Since the crown will be the same size on the outside as the original tooth, the tooth must be filed down to reduce its size. An impression is made and sent to a dental laboratory, which fabricates the crown, often using computer design technology. In the meantime, a temporary crown is placed, so the patient will be able to chew normally.
During the second dental appointment, the permanent crown is seated and bonded with dental cement, fully encasing the tooth underneath.
What are Crowns Made of?
There are three types of crowns.
Metal: An all-metal crown is very strong. However, since it has the appearance of metal, it is usually used for back teeth only.
PFM (Porcelain-fused-to-metal): This type of crowns is composed of a metal alloy underneath and porcelain on the outside. This makes the crown tooth-colored, so it is appropriate for front as well as back teeth. However, there may be a black line of metal showing along the gum line.
Ceramic or Porcelain: All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns have no black showing along the gum line, since they are completely made of tooth-colored material. This is the best choice for front teeth.
Taking Care of Dental Crowns:
Just as with your other teeth, it is very important to brush and floss regularly. In the case of a crown, pay special attention to the area at the base, to remove plaque and debris.
The life of a crown may be shortened by jaw-clenching or teeth-grinding, which may occur at night. If you tend to either of these behaviors, ask Dr. Ammari about a Night Guard.
Be careful when eating brittle foods, such as ice or hard candy. Chewing on these with your crowned tooth can damage it or interfere with its adhesion.