If you have a damaged or weakened tooth, your dentist may recommend having a crown fitted. If you're having a dental bridge fitted to replace a missing tooth, crowns may also be placed over the neighbouring teeth for support.
Dental crowns are custom-made to fit over a tooth and restore its original shape and function, but some materials look more lifelike than others. The material your crown is made from can also affect its strength and lifespan.
Your dentist can explain the different types of crowns they offer and the pros and cons of each, so you can decide which option is right for your needs and your price range. They may also discuss alternatives to crowns, depending on how much of the original tooth's structure remains.
Dental crowns can be made from a range of materials or a combination of materials. The most common options are:
All-ceramic or porcelain crowns are the most popular option today for their more natural-looking appearance. Your dentist can choose a shade of porcelain that matches your natural tooth colour, unless you prefer to alter the shade. Porcelain also reflects light in a similar way to tooth enamel.
The disadvantage of porcelain crowns is that they're less strong than metal and may be more easily damaged. For this reason, these crowns are usually only recommended for the more visible front teeth rather than the chewing teeth that are put under greater pressure.
Dental clinics that use computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology can sometimes fit crowns in a single appointment, compared to traditional crowns that need to be manufactured in an off-site dental laboratory. Find out more about CEREC same day crowns.
PFM crowns combine the strength of metal with the realistic appearance of porcelain crowns. These restorations have a metal core with a porcelain exterior that can be colour-matched to your teeth.
These crowns can be suitable for any teeth in the mouth, but they're not always the preferred choice for front teeth as the metal may sometimes show through the ceramic in certain light conditions. The metal base may also show if the crown is subject to wear and tear or your gums start to recede.
The first dental crowns were made of gold or other metals, and this continues today, although these crowns are less popular now as most people prefer a more natural look. The advantage of metal alloy or gold crowns is that they tend to last longer than other materials and are much stronger, so less likely to be damaged or worn down.
A less common option is dental crowns made from a composite resin, similar to that used for white fillings. These can also be colour-matched to teeth for a natural-looking finish, but the weaker material is more prone to damage and stains.
Crowns are generally recommended by dentists if a tooth needs more support than a filling would provide, but they may discuss other options with you, depending on your situation. These could include fillings or inlays/onlays to repair a chipped tooth or dental veneers to modify the appearance of a tooth.
When you follow your dentist's advice and take good care of the tooth beneath, a crown can last for many years.
Do you need to see a dentist? Contact our friendly team at Face Value Dental to make an appointment with our Brisbane dentists today. We'll give you a complete oral health assessment and can tell you more about traditional crowns, same day CEREC crowns and other options to help restore and protect your smile.
Call us on (07 3221 0677 or get in touch online.
 Healthdirect. Dental crown procedure [Online] 2017 [Accessed October 2018] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-crown-procedure
 Canadian Dental Association. Crowns - Restoring Damaged Teeth [Online] 2007 [Accessed October 2018] Available from: http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/procedures/crowns/