What Is A Dental Crown?
In the field of dentistry, a crown is a restorative unit that completely covers the visible portion of the natural tooth. Fabricated by dental laboratories, a dental crown is used to improve the strength and appearance of a damaged or discolored tooth.
When Is A Dental Crown Required?
A dental crown might be recommended by your dentist for a variety of reasons –
- If the tooth has been damaged by dental caries. Extensive fillings can render the tooth structurally weak. Hence, a crown is placed to prevent the tooth from fracturing under bite pressure.
- Similar to extensive fillings, a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment is also structurally fragile. A dental crown restores the structural and functional integrity of such a tooth.
- A tooth that is severely discolored can also be improved in appearance with the help of a dental crown.
- Similarly, any tooth that appears unsightly due to its structure can also be improved with a dental crown.
- In case a previous dental crown has failed, it might be advised to switch out with a better one.
- A dental crown is also used to replace a missing tooth with an implant. The crown is placed on the implant post.
- Likewise, dental crowns are also a part of a dental bridge. This unit also replaces missing teeth in the mouth.
What Types Of Dental Crowns Can I Choose?
A dental crown is fabricated in a dental lab after the dentist has sent them the molds of the patient’s mouth. But before the mold is sent, the tooth in question has to be prepared. This is done by shaving away the enamel of the tooth to make space for the dental crown.
The main types of dental crowns used in dentistry are mentioned below.
Alloys of gold are used to fabricate dental crowns. Gold isn’t used in its pure form as it has poor mechanical strength and is too soft. In gold alloys, other metals are included such as platinum, copper, zinc, palladium, etc.
Four types of gold alloys are used in dentistry. These are categorized by their hardness and gold content.
- Type I – the softest
- Type II
- Type III – 62-78% gold
- Type IV – the hardest with 60-70% gold
Types III and IV are commonly used to make dental crowns since they can withstand occlusal forces.
All Porcelain Crowns
Full porcelain crowns are popular due to their high aesthetic value. Since the material is tooth-colored, it gives the appearance of natural teeth. Despite how good they look, porcelain crowns are very brittle, meaning they fracture easily.
Porcelain crowns also can add extra stress on the opposing tooth, damaging it in the long run.
PFM, short for porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns is the most popular option for dental crowns. As the name suggests, the crown is a hybrid of a metal crown and a porcelain crown. The metal base offers the strength the crown requires to withstand occlusal forces and the porcelain top gives it an aesthetic appearance.
The properties of the base metal should complement the ceramic, otherwise, delamination or fracture of the latter occurs.
Zirconia is a type of ceramic that is a newcomer in the field of restorative dentistry. It is stronger than porcelain and even some metal alloys. Furthermore, it experiences fewer effects of the “wear and tears’” that occur over time.
Another reason why a zirconia dental crown is popular is that it doesn’t damage the opposing tooth – something porcelain frequently does. Porcelain causes enamel erosion when it rubs against opposing teeth, acting like sandpaper.
The American Dental Association did a study in 2021 that revealed that around 99% of dental professionals prefer zirconia crowns over their porcelain counterparts.
One of the big downsides of using zirconia is that it is really difficult to shade match with your natural teeth.
E-MAX Lithium Disilicate Crowns
Lithium Disilicate crowns are a type of ceramic crowns composed of lithium – a soft and silver-white metal and silicon – a hard, brittle material. Lithium Disilicate crowns have a realistic tooth-like color, making them a great choice for a dental crown.
A review done by BMC Health in 2019 showed that lithium Disilicate is more translucent than zirconia. Furthermore, getting fitted with an EMAX crown is a pretty quick process. Unlike traditional methods of the crown where you have to wait for the unit to be fabricated by the lab, lithium Disilicate crowns are made in the dentist’s office. You could be fitted with the dental crown within an hour.
Additionally, EMAX crowns are pretty long-lasting and sturdy. For tooth-supported crowns, 94.8% of lithium Disilicate crowns lasted for 8 years. And for implant-supported crowns, they lasted 100%. EMAX crowns have also shown fewer mechanical failures like chipping, fractures, and debonding.
What Is The Cost Of Dental Crowns?
The cost of a dental crown depends on the crown material and the number of units required. Without insurance, the average price range for dental crowns are mentioned below –
- Metal and gold crowns – $800-$1400 per tooth
- All ceramic (porcelain) crowns – $800-$3000 per tooth
- PFM crowns – $875-$1400 per tooth
- Zirconia and lithium Disilicate (EMAX) crowns cost almost the same as all-ceramic crowns
Most insurance plans cover about 50% of the total cost. However, this depends on the kind of insurance policy you have and whether or not your dentist is in the network. Furthermore, if the crown is for cosmetic reasons, it won’t be covered by your insurance.
Great quality crowns can last a long time, providing you care for your oral health properly. This means brushing twice a day, followed by flossing, and avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco. Additionally, you might also be asked to avoid hard foods that may cause the crown to break or chip, or dislodge from the tooth.
At River Rock Dental located in Downtown Shakopee, we offer high-quality dental crowns that not only protect your teeth but also make them appear aesthetic. For further information, call us at (952) 445-5556 to schedule an appointment with our experts.