Getting a crown is one of the most common dental procedures and is a great option for patients looking to cover a chipped or cracked tooth. Thanks to new technology like CEREC, dentists are now able to create incredibly natural-looking crowns that fit your mouth perfectly and don’t detract from your smile.
Dental crowns can be temporary or permanent depending on a patient’s needs, and can be made from a variety of different materials. In this blog, the team at Muscaro and Martini Dentistry in Tampa, Florida, explains the different types of dental crowns and their uses.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a cover or “cap” that a dentist places over a missing tooth, fully encapsulating the part of the tooth that shows over the gumline. Crowns are considered ideal for fixing physical problems with a tooth, such as cracking or chipping.
A permanent crown typically lasts between 5 and 15 years depending on their material and the amount of wear and tear they’re subjected to. With proper right care and regular visits to the dentist, they can last even longer.
What are dental crowns used for?
A dental crown is used to restore the size, shape, and function of a tooth after it’s been damaged in some way. Dental crowns can also:
- Protect a weak tooth from decay
- Restore a tooth that has broken or worn down from severe wear and tear
- Hold a dental bridge in place
- Improve the aesthetics of your smile by enhancing your tooth shape and color
- Cover a dental implant
- Protect a tooth following a root canal procedure
Put simply, crowns protect teeth and restore the natural appearance of your smile.
Note: If you have a tooth that has experienced significant dental decay, you may need treatment before a crown can be placed or the tooth may require removal. Talk to your dentist to determine how best to treat your specific situation.
Types of Dental Crowns
Dentists use a variety of different materials to craft crowns and other restorations. Each of these materials will vary in appearance and durability, but all are generally recognized as safe to use in the mouth.
Sometimes referred to simply as porcelain crowns, ceramic is a popular option for repairing front teeth that are visible in a smile. At Muscaro & Martini Dentistry, we use ceramic to provide our patients with the best results. Here’s why:
- Ceramic looks realistic. Ceramic is shiny and white in color. It can also be altered to fit with the color of your natural teeth, so you don’t have to worry about having a tooth that stands out from the rest.
- Ceramic can withstand high temperatures. Ceramic crowns are very resistant to temperature changes. With them, you can safely enjoy the hot and cold foods you love.
- Ceramic is safe for people with metal allergies. If you have a metal allergy, a porcelain device will be the way to go. It’s a safe and effective alternative for patients who can’t tolerate metal restorations.
Metal crowns are usually made with a mix of copper, gold, stainless steel, and any combination of other metals. Some older metal crowns may be made from a mercury amalgam.
Metal materials are durable and may last a long time, but there are some concerns about metals causing allergic reactions and looking unnatural next to other teeth. At Muscaro & Martini Dentistry, we don’t use metal for dental restorations. Instead, we use high-quality ceramic to craft crowns that are safe, comfortable, and natural-looking.
As the name implies, a porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown combines porcelain and metal. These crowns are composed of a small metal cap covered by a layer of ceramic to give it a more natural-looking appearance.
Resin crowns are made completely from resin and are typically used to fill in missing teeth in the front of the mouth.
Crowns made from resin are affordable and can be crafted to look like natural teeth, similar to porcelain. However, they also require careful maintenance, so resin is often used by many dentists for temporary crowns before a permanent restoration is placed.
CEREC Crowns vs Traditional Crowns
At Muscaro & Martini Dentistry, we use CEREC technology to make permanent dental crowns that look and feel like natural teeth. CEREC procedures use computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques to create your dental crown in just one visit.
Traditionally, dental crowns are constructed in an off-site lab over the course of about 10 days, or in some cases, several weeks. While you wait for the crown to be made, your dentist will give you a temporary crown to wear in the meantime. However, temporary crowns can easily fall off, leaving your tooth exposed before you can return to the dentist.
With CEREC, the process is quick, simple, and comfortable—we don’t even need to take a dental impression! Instead, we use a digital scanner to create a 3D model of your mouth and generate a custom-sized crown. We use an in-office ceramic mill to then shape the crown and place it in your mouth right away.
A dental crown crafted using CEREC technology will fit comfortably in your mouth and may last for up to 20 years.
Dental Crown Maintenance
Dental crowns are sturdy and long-lasting, but they require maintenance to stay looking and working their best—just like your natural teeth.
- Get regular checkups at the dentist. Your dentist can help keep track of your oral health and identify problems before you even notice them. Regular checkups ensure your crowns stay in peak condition.
- Follow a consistent oral care regimen. Practicing good oral hygiene goes a long way. Brush twice a day and floss daily to remove the sticky film of bacteria known as plaque from your natural teeth and crowns. Ask your dentist for product recommendations.
- Be careful what you chew. The ADA also strongly advises against chewing on hard foods and objects, and this step is especially important for those with tooth-colored crowns. Don’t chew ice, sticky foods, or items like pencils or pen caps.
Durable and Natural-Looking CEREC Crowns in Tampa, FL
If you’re ready to get a dental crown for yourself, schedule an appointment with our team at Muscaro and Martini Dentistry in Tampa, FL, today. With our state of the art technology, we can give you a custom dental crown that’s safe, comfortable, and natural-looking in just one visit!