If you’re like most people, you’ll probably need a crown at some point. A crown is a type of dental restoration that covers an existing tooth, improving the appearance of your smile while protecting your teeth. A crown can restore a tooth, cover badly-shaped or discolored teeth, attach bridges, attach to dental implants, support fractured teeth and improve the way your bite fits together.
There are several kinds of crowns you can choose: all-ceramic crowns; precious crowns, which contain very high percentages of gold; semi-precious crowns, which contain a lower percentage of gold; and non-precious crowns, which contain no gold and are often made with tin or nickel.
About 15 years ago, most dentists used gold covered by porcelain to create crowns. It was literally the gold standard because the crowns were strong and durable. Then the cost of gold started to climb and these precious-metal crowns became more expensive. Also, some people had issues with allergic reactions to the metal, developed dark lines near the gums, or had the porcelain break away.
Now, more people are choosing all-ceramic crowns. “There’s no metal in there, so you don’t have to worry about marginal discoloration. There is nothing to corrode or stain,” said Dr. Charbel Klaib, a Coast Dental dentist in Dunedin, FL. “It’s extremely bio-compatible. In fact, artificial joints are made out of the same material. You don’t have to worry about having an allergic reaction to the crown,” he added.
All-ceramic crowns are typically made with Zirconia, a very hard type of porcelain. It can withstand a lot of pressure, so it’s a great choice for you if you bite hard, grind your teeth or clench your jaw. “Think of your jaw as a nutcracker,” explained Dr. Klaib. “Where’s all the force? Near the jaw joint. The teeth in the back take a lot of force and that’s why I like to use all-ceramic crowns.”
Another reason is aesthetics: All-ceramic crowns are translucent, which makes them look more like your natural teeth. Crowns with metal in them do not allow light to penetrate through.
Then there’s the health benefit. When you’re fitted for an all-ceramic crown, the model of your tooth is laser-scanned by a computer for a very precise fit. Since it will fit better than other types of crowns, there is less chance for bacteria to accumulate, which lessens the risk of cavities, Dr. Klaib said. You still need to brush your teeth and floss, though!
There is one last factor you should consider when choosing your new crown: longevity. Be sure to ask your dentist for the warranty information. You want to make sure you can enjoy your improved smile for years to come!
Charbel Klaib, DMD, has been a practicing dentist since 2007. He provides general dentistry services to patients starting at age 12. His services include bone grafting, extractions, dental implant restorations, periodontal disease management, root canal therapy and laser therapy, veneers, Lumineers and Invisalign clear aligners. He practices at the Coast Dental dentist's office in Lakeland, Florida and will soon practice at the Coast Dental office in Belleair Bluffs.
Written by: Beth Gaddis
Reviewed by: Charbel Klaib, DMD
Reviewed by: Cindy Roark, DMD