A dental crown (sometimes referred to as a dental cap) is a type of restoration that improves the appearance or the strength of an existing healthy tooth by bonding the crown or covering material to the existing tooth. Unlike veneers, which are applied only to the front of the tooth, crowns cover the entire tooth. Crowns can be effectively used to restore or protect a fractured tooth, cover a misshaped or discolored tooth or one that has had root canal therapy performed on it, attach bridges or implants, or improve your bite and reduce tooth wear.
Every crown must be custom designed to fit properly and to match the appearance of your other teeth. Once in place, they have almost the same strength and appearance of natural teeth. There are three basic types of dental crowns:
- Porcelain and reinforced resin crowns – These crowns are considered the most pleasing because the dentist can most closely match the texture and color of other teeth.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns – Also providing a natural appearance although they do have a metal substructure, they require an opaque layer beneath the porcelain, and may not have the exact translucency of natural teeth. We often use this type of crown when we want to the looks of porcelain but an area of the function in gold for strength reasons.
- Gold crowns – Primarily used for molars (teeth in the back of the mouth), gold crowns are the simplest to prepare and do in some cases require less existing tooth structure to be removed. They also can produce less wear on adjoining teeth because the crown is softer than porcelain, although with quality porcelain materials and high polish, we are able to bring them to nearly equal.
What can you expect if you get a dental crown?
Crowns used to require two visits to the dental office. At NW Distinctive Dental, we use CEREC technology to bring your a single visit crown appointment in the majority of cases. There are still times to require a two step dental visit but thankfully, this requirement is becoming less frequent. During your single visit the dentist will prepare the tooth according to your dental need and take a digital impression. Our patients can either wait in the office or leave for about an hour to run errands, grab a bite to eat or just relax. Your crown is milled here in the office by a qualified dental lab tech and is ready to cement when you return. It’s that simple and easy!
When the permanent crown is completed, you return for a second visit. The dentist then removes the temporary crown, checks the fit and color of the permanent crown, and cements it into place. Once the crown is in place, you care for it just as you do your other teeth. With regular brushing and flossing, your crowns should last for many years.