A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth. It covers the tooth to restore its shape, size, strength and to improve its appearance.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the visible portion of a tooth that lies along the gum line.
Why is a dental crown needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay, breaking or after root canal therapy) or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken or severely worn-down tooth
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling where there is not a lot of tooth left
- To keep a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshaped or severely discolored/stained teeth
- To cover up a dental implant
What types of crown materials are available?
Permanent crowns can be made from 100% metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or 100% ceramic.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns are color matched to your adjacent teeth. Aside from all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like your normal teeth. The crown’s porcelain portion can chip or break off. This type of crown is stronger than all-ceramic crowns and are an excellent choice for posterior (back) teeth.
- All-ceramic crowns are made entirely from tooth-colored ceramic. They are the best cosmetic alternative to natural teeth. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. For that reason, they are usually only placed on anterior (front) teeth.
First visit: crown preparation
As the first step in the process of making your crown, Dr. Sulzbach will numb your tooth and the gum tissue around it. Next, the tooth receiving the crown will be filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown to fit over top. If a large area of the tooth is missing (due to decay or damage), a synthetic pin (post) and filling material will be used to “build up” the tooth to effectively support the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, an impression of that tooth will be taken for a laboratory to precisely fabricate your crown.
Dr. Sulzbach will also select the shade that most closely matches the color of your neighboring teeth.
Second visit: receiving the permanent dental crown
During your second visit, Dr. Sulzbach will check the fit and color of the crown. If everything is how it should be and you are happy with your new crown, it will be permanently cemented into place.