There are many dental treatments available today to save decayed or damaged teeth. Aside from filling cavities and performing root canal treatments, you may one day need a dental crown to preserve whatever is left of one of your teeth. A dental crown is just what its name sounds like – a covering placed on the top of the tooth to strengthen it and/or restore it to its natural shape and size. There are several kinds of dental crowns, and your dentist will choose a type of crown depending on why you need it.
What are the reasons for dental crowns?
- To cover a severely discolored or poorly shaped tooth.
- To fill a cavity when there is little left of your tooth.
- To hold a cracked tooth together.
- To add mass to a worn down tooth.
- To cover an unattractive dental implant or dental bridge.
- To protect a weak tooth.
What types of dental crowns are available?
- Metal: Base metals such as chromium or nickel are used to make metal crowns, and sometimes gold-alloy is used. Metal crowns are resistant to chewing and other forces that wear down other types of crowns, and they can be applied with minimal removal of the tooth below. Because metal crowns stand out among your teeth, they are usually used for the back molars which are hardly visible.
- Resin: This is the cheapest kind of crown available, but it is not very strong. It is prone to fracture failures and getting worn down relatively quickly. This is a good choice if your child needs a crown on a tooth that is due to fall out soon.
- Ceramic or Porcelain: This type of crown looks most natural, and will totally blend in with the color of your other teeth. It is not as strong as a metal crown, but is useful if you are allergic to metal. A ceramic or porcelain crown is the best choice for your visible front teeth.
- Porcelain fused to metal: These crowns are a good choice for both front and back teeth. The color of these crowns can be adjusted to almost perfectly match the color of your teeth. While the metal makes the base of these crowns strong, the porcelain can chip off due to friction with other teeth.
- Acrylic/Stainless steel: These crowns are only temporary, until your dentist, someone like Kokkirala Rajeshwer, can prepare a permanent crown from one of the materials listed above.
The advantage of a crown over a filling is that the crown will fully encase your tooth above your gum line and further decay will be prevented. While people were once thankful to still have their natural teeth after age 40, progress in dental technology now offers solutions like crowns to preserve at least part of a decayed natural tooth, and thereby prevent the need for extractions and tooth implants.