Types Of Dental Crowns

The portion of a natural tooth that is exposed in the mouth is called the crown. This area of the tooth can become damaged by bacterial acids that cause decay. Additionally, the crown may sustain damage from high levels of bite pressure or a traumatic blow to the mouth.

Once the crown becomes cracked, chipped, decayed, or broken, bacteria may enter the innermost layer of the tooth, which is called the pulp. If the pulp becomes infected, the tooth may have to have to be extracted, or it may have to undergo root canal therapy to be salvaged.

To reinforce the structure of a damaged natural crown and protect the tooth from infection, a prosthetic crown may be needed. Here are a few different types of crowns that may be applied. 

Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are popular in pediatric dentistry. The crowns can be placed during one visit, eliminating the need for a young patient to sit through multiple dental sessions. 

Instead of being fashioned in a dental lab, the crown is manually molded around the tooth by the dentist. While it still provides substantial protection, the color of the crown may be off-putting for older patients. Nevertheless, primary teeth will eventually shed, so the stainless steel crown that covers a baby tooth will come out when the tooth that it covers is lost.

All-porcelain Crowns

Crowns made of only porcelain offer the aesthetic appeal of a tooth-colored appliance. They are translucent, allowing a bit of the underlying tooth's color to show through the crown. Thus, full porcelain crowns offer a natural look. Additionally, the crowns are quite smooth to the touch, so they feel like natural tooth material to the tongue. 

Full porcelain crowns are often reserved for the front teeth. However, since they contain no metal, they may be applied as needed for a patient with a metal allergy.

If a full porcelain material is selected, the patient should avoid grinding their teeth or biting on hard objects. Undue bite force can cause the porcelain material to crack.

Porcelain Fused to Metal

Some crowns are made of metal that is covered by porcelain. The resulting device has a natural appearance similar to full porcelain and adheres well to the tooth due to the metal interior. Additionally, the crown does not cause additional wear on the underlying tooth, since only the metal and dental cement are in direct contact with the tooth material. The crown is also quite durable. 

For more information about dental crowns, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.