Crowns Q & A
What are dental crowns?
A dental crown is simply an artificial “cap” that covers and protects a damaged tooth. Crowns are also the visible portions of a dental implant. Crowns are usually used to replace the functional surfaces of a tooth that has been severely decayed, affected by a root canal, or is severely misaligned. Crowns can perform many different dental functions, including:
- Protect a weakened tooth
- Restore a broken or worn down tooth
- Reinforce a tooth with a large filling
- Secure a dental bridge
- Correct flaws in shape or color
What materials are used to make dental crowns?
Dr. Steier has several options when it comes to the material for your new crown. There are pros and cons of each option, and she assists you in making the choice that’s right for your needs.
Metal crowns are incredibly durable and are also an affordable choice. They aren’t always the most aesthetically appealing option, however, and are better suited for molars. That said, patients sometimes choose gold or silver crowns for their distinct appearance.
These crowns combine the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain. They are less expensive than all-porcelain crowns yet are still quite durable. In some cases, the metal color shows through in a thin line along your gum line.
Ceramic or porcelain
These crowns offer a beautiful, natural-looking color and finish. They are the most expensive option, and they can chip or crack if you aren’t careful. Still, many patients prefer ceramic or porcelain crowns because they are nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding natural teeth.
What is involved in getting a crown?
The first step involves a thorough exam and imaging, which gives Dr. Steier the information she needs to create your customized treatment plan. If your tooth requires a new filling or other restoration, that process takes place before you’re fitted for your crown.
After you’ve received an anesthetic to numb the area, Dr. Steier carefully removes a portion of your tooth tissue to make room for the crown. If you don’t have sufficient tissue to support a crown, she uses a special material to build up your tooth.
Next, she makes impressions to send to the dental lab, where your custom crown is manufactured. Dr. Steier cements a temporary crown in place to wear until your permanent crown arrives. Then she removes the temporary and cements your new crown into place, carefully checking for ideal fit and coloring.
If you have a tooth that is cracked, worn down, or severely decayed, schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Steier to find out if a dental crown can restore your tooth’s appearance and function. Don’t delay seeking treatment, as there is a point beyond which a crown will no longer be able to correct these issues.