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A dental crown is a type of restoration that is used in covering a damaged or cracked tooth. It helps to completely support and strengthen a misshapen tooth or a badly broken tooth. Dental crowns come in a variety of materials. The type that works best for you can be determined at your initial consultation.
Some types of materials used in dental crowns include:
- Stainless steel
- All ceramic or porcelain
This type of crown material is typically used for baby teeth. These are temporary crowns.
The advantage of stainless steel is that it is relatively inexpensive and helps in preventing tooth decay. It is a temporary solution for patients.
Metals are used in the form of alloys – a mixture of metals. Some metals commonly used in these alloys include gold, platinum, nickel chromium and cobalt chromium.
The benefits of crowns made of metallic alloys are that they are extremely durable and rarely break or chip.
Metals can be somewhat prominent in the mouth, so they are typically used in the back molars that are less visible.
The core of these types of crowns is formed of metal that is used for strength, while porcelain helps it match the color of surrounding teeth.
Many patients prefer porcelain crowns because they provide a more natural appearance. However, if porcelain should become damaged, the underlying metal can become exposed.
This type of crown fits right onto the gum line, offering a quick solution. Although all-resin crowns are the least expensive type, they are also more susceptible to fracture and wearing down over time.
These types are a more permanent solution, especially for anyone who is allergic to metal.
Although they offer the most natural appearance and color match, they are also more expensive.
Damaged Dental Crowns
Although most dental crowns are quite strong, they are not indestructible. Under certain circumstances, they may chip or crack. This may occur due to a facial injury, or from biting down on hard or crunchy food. The material that the crown is made from can also weaken and erode over time.
It is sometimes possible to see damage to a crown, or feel it using your tongue. Some types of tiny chips and cracks may only be visible using x-rays. If you suffer trauma to your mouth, or something cracks when you bite down forcefully, make an appointment with your dentist and have it checked out.
Detached Dental Crowns
In some cases, such as mouth trauma or biting down on something hard, a dental crown can loosen or detach completely. If this happens, you will almost certainly notice it, unlike a tiny chip or fracture.
When a patient first receives a dental crown, a certain amount of tooth enamel is normally removed, which weakens and exposes the tooth. So if you have lost a dental crown, you are back to square one and need to make a dental appointment right away.