A dental crown, also known as a dental cap, is a tooth-shaped cover used to strengthen and protect a damaged or weakened tooth. A crown is most commonly used to save a tooth that might otherwise have to be pulled due to a large cavity, a crack, a root canal procedure, or other condition that weakens the tooth. Because a crown fully covers the visible part of the tooth, crown are also a good solution for “cosmetic” problems such as a tooth that is not the correct size, a tooth that is improperly shaped, or a tooth that is stained or discolored. Because crowns are used for different purposes and in different locations in the mouth, crowns are available in several different materials. Metal crowns, such as gold on porcelain fused crowns, offer the high strength needed for the restoration of molars. All-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns offer the natural-look needed to restore front teeth.
How Should I Care for My Temporary Dental Crown?
A dental crown, also known as a dental cap, is made in a dental laboratory. To protect your tooth while your crown is being made, your dentist will place a temporary crown on your tooth. Temporary crowns are usually made of an acrylic material that is not a strong or secure as a permanent crown. To protect your temporary crown, special precaution need to be taken. When eating, avoid foods that can damage or dislodge the temporary crown such as sticky foods that can pull off the temporary crown (caramel, gum, etc.) and hard foods that could break the temporary crown (candy, raw fruits and vegetables, etc.). If possible, avoid using the temporary crown for any chewing. When flossing, do not lift the floss as you normally would but slide the floss out from between the temporary crown and neighboring teeth: lifting the floss could pull the temporary crown off.
What Types of Crowns Are Available?
Because dental crowns, also known as dental caps, are used for different purposes and in different parts of the mouth, crowns are made from several different materials. The most commonly used materials for crowns are metal (gold alloy, nickel alloy, or chromium alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal (a metal crown with a natural colored porcelain coating), all-porcelain (solid natural colored porcelain), and resin (solid ceramic/polymer composite). Each of these materials has it advantages and disadvantages. Metal crowns offer the strength needed to restore molars (the back teeth used for chewing) but the metal color is a turn-off to many patients. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns offer the strength of a metal crown with a more natural-look but the porcelain coating can chip. The natural look of all-porcelain and resin crowns make them good for restoring the front teeth but they are not as strong as metal crowns. Your dentist can recommend the type of crown that will best suit your needs. Some information on costs can be found here.
By Dr. Trinh Pham