Porcelain crowns or caps are used to rebuild teeth when damage is so extensive that a filling can’t be used but the natural teeth can still be saved. A dental crown reconstructs the structure of a tooth after a fracture, heavy wear, large cavity or large existing filling, making it possible to prolong the tooth’s life and preserve its root. Traditionally crowns were made of all metal and were gold or silver in color. Eventually we started layering tooth colored porcelain over the metal, but these crowns still had a black or grey band of metal at the edge where it was against the tooth. Today we have porcelain materials that have equal strength and durability to the metal. All porcelain crowns are more esthetic and are safe for patients who have an allergy to metal or are simply concerned about the metal.
Why Porcelain Crowns?
A dental crown covers the entire tooth, reshaping and replacing its surface while leaving the root and base of the natural tooth intact. This is a viable solution for issues like:
• Weak or brittle teeth
• Extensive tooth decay
• Extensive wear or damage to teeth
• Cracks or fractures
• Failed fillings
In cases where an implant can’t be safely used, crowns are often used on healthy teeth to anchor dental bridges.
Porcelain Crown Benefits
Where many other cosmetic dentists may suggest a relatively thin veneer or inlay for certain types of damage, Dr. Brady is likely to recommend a crown to support the integrity of your teeth. It’s not enough to simply cover up damage, as the weak tooth may continue to disintegrate. A crown is a safe, lasting way to protect and maintain your teeth’s health and longevity.
In other circumstances, Dr. Brady may suggest a crown instead of extracting a tooth and replacing it with an implant. Dental crowns are a less-invasive option, allowing you to maintain your natural tooth root without surgery or extraction—a better option in many cases.
Dental crowns can be made from either porcelain or metal alloy. Porcelain is the more natural-looking option, because it reflects light like tooth enamel, but either can be tinted to precisely match the shade of your teeth. Dr. Brady will discuss the benefits of each of these alternatives with you during your initial consultation.
Will a crown look and feel natural?
“All-porcelain” crowns that have been precisely fitted and bonded can’t be distinguished from your natural teeth. Your new crown will look and feel just like a real tooth, allowing you to effortlessly eat your favorite foods again. Best of all, it will last for decades if properly cared for.
How do I know whether a dental crown, filling, veneer, or implant is the right choice?
- Dental bonding and porcelain fillings are used to repair the smallest areas of damage or decay removed from a tooth.
- Veneers cover the surface of the tooth to repair or enhance cosmetic appearance, but don’t do anything to support tooth structure or repair damage.
- Dental implants are used to replace a tooth when the root is damaged so extensively that it needs to be removed
A crown can be considered an intermediate step between the more superficial repairs of a filling or veneer and the extreme repair of replacing a tooth with an implant.
I have an old crown that came loose. How do I know that won’t happen again?
A crown that is poorly made or badly fitted to the tooth can come loose, sometimes popping off while you’re eating or allowing bacteria and decay to spread under it. Crowns are designed so that the height and tip of the walls of the tooth create a snug fit. If your tooth is very short or very badly broken down there may not be enough tooth to retain a crown and other options will need to be explored. Our crowns are custom-made for each patient using state-of-the-art technology, and are carefully bonded to your teeth to ensure a perfect, lasting fit.
How long do crowns last?
Like all dental restorations crowns have a lifespan. The challenge is predicting for each patient how long that will be. Several factors contribute to the longevity of a crown, including the nature and amount of decay or damage to the natural tooth, amount of tooth structure remaining and risk factors for future cavities at the edge of the crown. Most crowns can be expected to last between 5-10 years before needing to be replaced, although both longer and shorter time frames occur routinely.