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Dental Crowns – Types and uses

Whether if needed for tooth restoration or for cosmetic reasons, dental crowns are ¨caps¨ that fully cover a person´s tooth by dentist recommendation. Dental Crowns are permanently placed in with special cement handled only by dental professionals.

There are several reasons why a person needs a dental crown; when cavities are so large that they cannot be fixed with regular fillings, for fractured or severely worn down teeth, for teeth that have had endodontic treatment, to perform a bridge to replace missing teeth, or if a person wants to improve the appearance or aesthetic aspect of their smile.

The process of performing crowns consists of a first visit in which the dentist takes impressions for the tooth or teeth that will need a dental crown. With this mold the dentist will send the impressions to the dental laboratory for the technicians to create each individual crown for each tooth manually.

The doctor will place in temporary crowns made from acrylic that the patient will use for the waiting period that the laboratory needs to perform the crowns. These provisional crowns are secured with temporary cement, and do not resemble at all the final appearance of the permanent crowns.

After the laboratory has manufactured the crowns the patient will return to the dental office to have the permanent crowns cemented. The general process of crowns, depending on the amount of units required and on the time the laboratory needs, can take from one to two weeks time.

Types of Dental Crowns

Metal fused to Porcelain Crown: This crown consists of a metal base frame fused with porcelain that resembles a natural tooth. This crown is strong due to its metal base. It is highly recommended for back molars due to their strength and for patients with strong bites or grinders. The disadvantage of this crown is that its metal base sometimes can show as a silver line below the porcelain portion of it, mostly in the gum area, which can give an unpleasant appearance. Because of the metal structure there is no translucency, making it less esthetic.

Pure Porcelain Crown: This crown is made from all porcelain, it resembles the most a natural tooth, it can be made to match perfectly the color of the rest of the teeth, and its translucent appearance gives a very aesthetic finish. This crown is mostly recommended for the most visible teeth and not on back molars due to its delicacy; it is definitely mostly used for cosmetic procedures.

Zirconium: This type of material is relatively new to the market; however it has proven to be able to hold strong bites and grinding. Zirconium crowns can be used both in front teeth and in back molars. The reflection of light on zirconium crowns is the same as natural teeth, so the resemblance is the closest. This crown is definitely the most aesthetic of all crown types. Zirconium is a metal which makes the crown strong; however it is a biocompatible material.

High noble metal alloys: In order to qualify as a high noble metal, this crown must be composed of 60% noble metal, of which at least 40% must be gold. This crown is the strongest and most durable type; they rarely ever chip or break, and can stand very strong biting and chewing. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of a high noble metal crown is its appearance. It does not resemble at all natural teeth and the metal color is very visible and can result in an unattractive smile. They are regularly only used in back molars.

When it is determined by a dentist that a patient needs a crown, the specialist can explain all the different materials of crowns offered, and based on each case, will guide the patient to make the best decision as to which type of crown to choose.

It is important to emphasize that all crowns require special care by the patient. In crowns with porcelain or zirconium material, a custom made mouthguard is highly recommended to protect the work from breaking or chipping.

By: Prisma Dental

For any questions about dental crowns you can contact us at or to our phone numbers: (506) 2291-5151 in Costa Rica or toll free at 866-741-8194 in United States.

Dental Crowns – Types And Uses
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