What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a cap-like structure that restores the shape and size of the tooth on which it is placed. The crown will make the tooth stronger, and depending on the material of the crown, make it look like the original tooth. Different types of materials are used for making dental crowns depending on the location of the tooth, the budget of the patient, and other factors. Metal crowns are used extensively for molars and larger teeth in the rear since they are very durable. They can also withstand the biting and chewing forces very well. Gold, palladium, nickel, chromium, steel alloys are some of the materials which are used for these crowns. The main disadvantage of these metal crowns is the color difference between the natural teeth and the metal crown.
Porcelain fused with metal crowns is often used for front teeth since they can be produced in a color which is matching the color of the natural teeth. These crowns may not be able to withstand the biting forces and may break off. Additionally, since the porcelain is harder, the crown may act on the lower teeth, wearing them down. Resin crowns can also be used since they are inexpensive, though they are not very durable. All ceramic and porcelain crowns match the natural tooth color best, yet they are not very strong and may break off.
Depending on the method used to make the crown the dentist will make a mold of the tooth or use advanced software to take photos of the mouth and tooth. The dental crown is usually manufactured in a lab or other facility based on the tooth details provided by the dentist. The dentist will then fit the crown on the tooth with a dental adhesive or similar material. Usually, the crown will remain in place for five to fifteen years. In some cases, the crown will fall off, because the shape of the tooth and mouth has changed, so a new dental crown is required. In other cases, the crown may develop cracks or break off.
Dentists will usually recommend the removal of a tooth that is badly decayed or damaged. However, many people do not want to have their teeth removed, and an implant placed, since tooth removal is painful and dental implants are expensive. So having a dental crown will help in retaining and using the remaining tooth for a longer period of time. The dental crown will form a protective cap over the tooth so that it is not exposed to the biting, chewing force, bacteria in the mouth.
Who is it for?
Often, a large part of a tooth is lost due to cavities or tooth decay. In other cases, a root canal is done to save the tooth, but the tooth has become brittle and may break off. In a few cases, the tooth is fractured due to accidents or other reasons. So to protect the remaining tooth, it is advisable to get a dental crown for the damaged or fractured tooth, so that the original teeth can be used for a longer time. Dental crowns are recommended for individuals who do not want their damaged or decayed teeth extracted, and have enough tooth structure remaining.