What Types of Crowns Are Available?

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Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.

Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. For children, a stainless-steel crown is commonly used to fit over a primary tooth that’s been prepared to fit it. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it. In general, stainless steel crowns are used for children’s teeth because they don’t require multiple dental visits to put in place and so are more cost- effective than custom-made crowns and prophylactic dental care needed to protect a tooth without a crown.

Metals used in crowns include alloys that have a high content of gold or platinum, or base-metal alloys (for example, cobalt- chromium and nickel-chromium alloys). Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic colour — and the high price of gold — is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be colour matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth as well as long bridges where the metal is needed for strength.

All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. 

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. All-ceramic crowns can be used for front and back teeth.

Temporary versus permanent. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office, whereas most permanent crowns are typically made in a dental laboratory. Typically, temporary crowns are made of an acrylic-based material or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by a lab.

FAQS

Does a Crowned Tooth Require Special Care?

While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day.

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

On average, dental crowns last between five and 15 years. The life span of a crown depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your personal mouth-related habits (you should avoid such habits as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging).

Does a Crowned Tooth Require Special Care?

While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day.