Do you have a tooth that is significantly damaged or decayed? Have you been told that a dental filling simply won’t cut it? Are you opting for a root canal over extraction? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a dental crown may be the perfect restoration method for you.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over the crown, or visible portion, of your tooth. They are primarily used to restore damaged or decayed teeth, as well as teeth that have undergone a root canal. In some cases, dental crowns can also be used to correct cosmetic concerns such as misshapen, discolored, or improperly spaced teeth.
There are five different types of dental crowns that are commonly used to restore teeth. The best dental crown for you will depend upon personal preference, budget, and its location in the mouth. The five different types of dental crowns include:
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel crowns are rarely used for permanent restorations. They are used in the primary teeth of children and are replaced once the permanent teeth have erupted. This type of crown is also used as a temporary restoration for adults. Because dental crowns require two dental appointments, stainless steel crowns are placed to protect the tooth between the first and second appointment. This is because it takes time for a dental lab to custom fabricate the permanent dental crown. In most cases, temporary dental crowns are only worn for a few weeks.
Metal crowns can be made using gold, platinum, copper, or base metal alloys (cobalt-chromium or nickel-chromium). This type of dental crown is extremely durable, but does not cause wear on the opposing tooth. Because of its strength, it is commonly used to restore molars in the back of the mouth. The main downsides of metal crowns is their metallic appearance and the fact that they corrode over time.
3. Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)
PFM crowns are composed of a metal interior with a porcelain outer shell. They offer the strength and durability of metal crowns will the aesthetic benefits of a porcelain crown. PFM crowns can be used in the front and back of the mouth. The main downsides of PFM crowns are their ability to wear down opposing teeth and the appearance of a metal ring at the base of the tooth that becomes noticeable with gum recession.
4. All-Porcelain Crowns
Porcelain crowns, also known as ceramic crowns, are made entirely of porcelain and are completely metal-free. They are ideal for patients who want a visually-appealing dental crown or who have allergies to metal. Because of their natural appearance, they are commonly used to restore the front teeth. The main downsides of porcelain crowns are the fact that they wear down the opposing teeth and are not as strong as PFM crowns. For more information, see “Ceramic Crowns”.
5. All-Resin Crowns
All-resin crowns are made from dental composite resin. They are highly affordable and can be matched to the tooth’s natural color. However, they are more prone to damage than other types of crowns and have a shorter lifespan.
Overall, these five different types of dental crowns offer dental patients a variety of options to choose from. Each crown is made using a different type of dental material and each dental material offers its own benefits and drawbacks. However, with such a variety you are sure to find the best dental crown for your smile.
Dr. Paul H. Kim obtained his dental doctoral degree at the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2002. Upon graduation, he worked at a multi-specialty dental office in Los Angeles as an associate doctor until he opened his own dental practice in 2005. He has taught at UCLA Dental School as a clinical instructor. He has post-graduate training in implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics and sedation dentistry. He is an active member of several dental organizations, and he is currently teaching other doctors to provide quality dental services to their patients. He is passionate about helping people achieve great and confident smiles and good oral health.