What is a crown? A crown is a dental prosthetic, or tooth-like covering, that replaces your normal tooth above the gum line. Crowns strengthen your teeth and protect them from decay, but they don’t protect against gum disease. So you should care for your crowns exactly like you would your normal teeth.
Why get a crown? Crowns can be used to cover discolored or badly shaped teeth for cosmetic reasons; however, they are more often applied for functional reasons. Crowns can protect weak teeth from breaking, restore teeth that are already broken, or hold bridges in place. A crown can also be used to support a tooth that has had a root canal or to or cover a dental implant.
What are crowns made of? Crowns can be all metal, all ceramic, or porcelain fused to metal (PFM). Your dentist will explain the pros and cons of each type and assist in determining the best choice for you.
• All-metal crowns are very strong and resist wear. They can be a good choice for back molars where cosmetic appearance is of little concern.
• All-ceramic crowns offer the best match to your natural teeth. They are a good choice for visible teeth and for people with metal allergies.
• PFM crowns are made from porcelain covering a metal crown. A hybrid of the other two types, these combine the strength of metal crowns with the aesthetic benefits of porcelain crowns.
What is the procedure like? In the past, getting a crown would usually take two visits – a first visit to create impressions and a second visit to place the new crown. But now CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing) technology allows your dentist to place a crown in just one visit. Studies have shown that CAD/CAM tooth restorations are just as successful as those made using traditional techniques. The technology can also assist your dentist in preserving more of your existing tooth.