Crowns & Caps
Crowns are used for protecting and repairing teeth that have been damaged or diseased, or to cap implants. This procedure if often done immediately after a root canal procedure (in most cases) but are also recommended in other injuries like tooth fractures, big dental caries or discolored teeth.
The procedure of getting a dental crown placed isn’t all that painful. Usually, the dentist will give anesthesia so that you are comfortable. The tooth would then be shaped or ground down so that space can be made for placement of the new crown. An impression/measurement record is made and sent to a lab for casting procedures. The laboratory prepared new crown is then glued into place with special cement that can keep the crown fixed there.
Most often, patients are confused regarding the types of crowns available. Dental crowns can be chosen based on looks or for strength or the right combination of the two needs.
Crowns are typically made from silver or other metal alloys (colbalt,chromium,paladium etc), and ceramic compounds such as zirconia and porcelain. There is also an option of PFM crowns which are metal fused to porcelain crowns. Crowns are also made to a lesser extent from resin/acrylic based materials. These resin crowns are temporary in nature.
Metal crowns are considered as one of the time tested method for teeth replacement, however, metal has poor esthetics. Hence it is not encouraged in anterior teeth.
However, of late, the strength of esthetic materials have also increased such that tooth like colour can be mimicked on a metal base. This is known as PFM crowns. porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns have both strength and esthetic appeal. However, over time, they tend to show a small metal margin along the gum.
Starting in the new millennium, other highly realistic tooth-colored materials became available. These include lithium disilicate and zirconium oxide (the strongest porcelain). These new generation all-porcelain dental caps are an excellent choice when it comes to the front teeth, where appearances are important. They have an amazingly life-like end result but are known to fracture easily in case of high stress. However, more research is being done even now to upgrade the quality of these tooth like materials.
A new type of crow called as endo-crown has been introduced lately which meant to be uised in RCT treated teeth with poor strength to aid in improving their life span. However, this type of crown if required is often decided by the dentist. This is available in metal as well as metal free crown options.
Although crowns are one of the most preferred methods for restoring teeth that have been damaged or worn down, they’re not infallible and probably won’t last indefinitely. Most dental labs and dentists tell patients their dental crowns will last anywhere from 5 – 15 years. But this time frame is dependent on the patient age, oral health and biting forces.
Some factors you can consider before you select crowns are:
- Your age
- how long the tooth will last (weak/strong tooth)
- the position of tooth in your smile
- your financial constraints if any
Often the dentist will recommend you a type of crown based upon the above factors.