A crown is a dental restoration that is custom-made for your mouth to repair and strengthen a damaged or compromised tooth, to replace a missing tooth as part of a dental implant assembly, or to replace multiple missing teeth as part of a dental bridge.
Uses for dental crowns
A dental crown will strengthen and restore the entire top section of a damaged tooth. It can also be part of the attachment of a fixed bridge for the replacement of teeth. A crowned tooth is often strengthened because it is covered from the outside with a casting of metal or ceramic that will wrap up and splint the tooth.
1. Strengthen a damaged tooth
Compromised teeth are often restored with various types of dental fillings. These materials will replace the part of a tooth that has been lost as a result of either breakage or decay. However, there comes a point where the damage to the tooth has removed too much structure to hold a filling. When this happens, a dental crown will be attached to the remaining tooth following the filling, and will provide the both the strength needed for the tooth to hold up under use, as well as improve the cosmetic appearance of the tooth following a large filling.
If a tooth is badly broken or decayed and very little tooth structure remains above the gum line, the tooth may require a root canal treatment (endodontics) prior to the addition of a dental crown. A post will be cemented inside the canal to act as retention for a crown.
2. Strengthen a tooth following a root canal
Root canal treatment is not necessarily required prior to placing a dental crown, and in fact crowns are often placed on a living, non-root canal treated tooth. However, in most circumstances, teeth that have had root canal treatment for whatever reason do require coverage with a dental crown. This is necessary because teeth which have undergone root canal treatment are especially prone to cracking – often seriously and beyond repair – and because these teeth were often badly broken down to begin with.
3. Improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth
Often the placement of a crown can improve the contours of a tooth, reshaping it to match more effectively with the opposing teeth. A crown can also be used to cover a discoloured tooth. Modern ceramic processes produce an extremely natural translucency and colour, and our unique on-site lab offers the latest technology in fabrication of digitally produced, highly realistic crowns and bridges.
4. Replace a missing tooth using dental implants
A dental crown supported by a dental implant is an excellent choice of restoration for a missing tooth. Like a natural root, a dental implant provides the foundation for a dental crown. The resulting implant and crown assembly functions very much like the missing tooth did.
5. Support and maintain the structure of the face and jaw
Our teeth support the muscles in our faces, so anything less than a full tooth may affect the way you look.
Whether used to strengthen a natural tooth or as part of a replacement for missing teeth, a dental crown is made to be the same size and contour as the original natural tooth and, as a result, it will maintain the natural appearance of your face. The crown will also keep your jaw and bite aligned, and ensure that other teeth do not shift locations or take on a greater share of the work of biting and chewing.
Materials used for dental crowns
Dental crowns are most commonly made of porcelain. Our dentists work in close collaboration with our on-site ceramist to choose a porcelain that matches the shade of your natural teeth, and are often so carefully matched in colour that they cannot be distinguished from your natural teeth. Our on-site lab uses a state-of-the-art process for fabricating ultra-strong, ultra-esthetic all-porcelain crowns.
Crowns can also be made of gold, which is a very strong and biocompatible material; however, many people prefer not to use gold because it stands out from the other teeth in appearance. When a dental crown is on a back molar, some people feel the cosmetic issue to be less important.
Lastly, dental crowns can also be made of stainless steel, but those crowns are often not designed for long-term wear.