What is a Dental Crown or Cap?
A dental crown is reinforcement restoration that ‘crowns’ or ‘caps’ the existing portion of natural tooth material. Crowns are designed to bring back teeth to their natural look and proper function. They are longer lasting and a more definitive restoration, along with being a more cosmetic and aesthetic choice for tooth restorations.
Are crowns right for you?
Crowns or “caps” might be necessary if:
- Your tooth/teeth need protection from breaking due to weakness caused by serious decay
- Holding together pieces of an already broken tooth
- Reinforce and restore an existing tooth that has been severely worn down
- As an alternative to a large filling, where most of the tooth material has been taken out and very little is left.
- To hide discolored or misshapen teeth
- To cover a dental implant that has been placed
What types of crowns or “caps” are there?
There are many different materials used for fabricating dental crowns. They can essentially be broken down into three different categories: metal alloy restorations, porcelain fused-to-metal restorations, or non-metal restorations (all-porcelain and Zirconia)
Metal-alloy restorations- Metal alloy restorations are ideal for hidden teeth (back teeth and molars). They rarely chip or break, and have a long life due to the alloy’s resistance to being broken down. Materials used for metal-alloy restorations can range from gold, platinum, chromium and nickel.
The main drawback to metal-alloy restorations is that they do not appear to be natural teeth. The color of the metal-alloy is visible and able to be seen. This is why most patients prefer different types of crown restorations that are more cosmetic and aesthetically pleasing.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations (PFM)- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restorations can be effectively used for either front or back teeth. Unlike metal-alloy restorations, porcelain-fused-to-metal have the great benefit of being tooth colored. This is achieved by the placement of a thin sheet of porcelain that is fused to the metal-alloy, which is the secure base of the crown. This allows the dentist to correctly shade the porcelain to match your other teeth while not compromising on strength of the crown. Porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations are one of the most common types of crowns placed by Dentists.
A significant drawback to porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns is the high chance that the metal base of the crown might begin to show. This occurs due to gum recession, which is the leading oral health disease in the United States. As the gum tissue recede the metal-alloy base of the crown becomes visible, which will cause the unsightly metal-alloy to appear when smiling.
Non-metal restorations- Non-metal restorations are increasingly becoming the gold standard in general and cosmetic Dentistry. These restorations are metal-free. Composed of no metal alloys. At Milwaukee Dental Group our dentists specialize in these types of crowns. Specifically a Zirconia crown called BruxZir fabricated by one of the best dental labs in the country PacificEdge Dental Laboratories and Glidewell Dental Labs both located in California. These crowns are known to be stronger and the best for natural appearance. They rank higher in longevity because of the stronger material. Custom molds are made of your tooth/teeth and then the dentist along with the dental lab custom design your crown based on your existing tooth structure, shading and shape.
Zirconia crowns are considered best for front teeth that need a crown restoration. Because of the natural appearance, strength, and longevity these crowns provide
What is the process for getting a crown or “cap”
At your first appointment with our dentists and Milwaukee Dental Group, your tooth or teeth will need to be reduced by 1.5 millimeters. Then a custom impression will be made, from which a replica of your tooth/teeth will be built from stone. The dental lab technician then begins the artistic task of constructing the crown. After the final shading and shaping are complete your dentist will show you, your crown. After both you and your dentist accept the crown, the final placement or cementation can begin.
The sides of your remaining teeth/tooth are tapered to allow the crown to be securely place Your dentist will fit the crown under your gum-tissue so the crown appears to be a natural tooth, with no margins appearing above your gum-tissue. After a few tries and different angles, your dentist will begin to secure the crown with dental cement (resin-bonding material).
How long do crowns last?
Crowns have the longest life span of any dental restoration. With proper care they can last up to 15 years or longer.