Dental crowns, or caps, are metal or ceramic cups that fit over a damaged tooth. They are used to protect teeth that have been drilled, have had a root canal, been damaged through trauma, or to cap dental hardware such as implants or bridges. They can be used to make aesthetic corrections, and to hide underlying dental hardware structures. They are made of a variety of materials, depending on where they are to be located in the mouth, and what they are being used for. They are glued into place using dental cement in applications that require them to adhere to natural tooth material.

Process:

Caps and crowns involve indirect, or made outside of the mouth, dental techniques. They are generally created in a dental laboratory and made custom for each tooth of each patient. This is done using an impression, or model, of the patient’s teeth. They are made to match shape, color, and texture of the patient’s neighboring teeth. The crowns can be slightly altered once they are made in order to fit perfectly before the dentist cements them into place.

Dental crowns may be placed over fillings in order to protect the filling from damage due to the forces of chewing. This involves preparing the area to accept the crown, which may mean removing some of the natural tooth material. This is a method of reinforcing a site that has been weakened by decay and is an effort to save as much of the natural tooth as possible.

Materials:

There are many types of materials that can be used to construct caps and crowns. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Gold crowns are very good for teeth that are not part of a patient’s smile, such as molars. They can be made very thinly, which allows the dentist to save as much of the natural tooth as possible. Gold crowns are made using the lost wax method of casting, meaning that a master of the tooth is carved using the dental impressions, which is used to make a mold to pour the melted gold into. They are very durable, and wear very well, but are also quite expensive.

Porcelain crowns can be made to mimic the natural teeth better than any other material. They are also less expensive than gold crowns. However, they are not as durable, and must be made twice as thick as gold crowns. Porcelain crowns are carved from a solid block using computer technology.

Other types of crown materials are available, but gold and porcelain crowns are the most common varieties. For more information, contact Dr. Yanni, your East Brunswick dentist, for a consultation. He is happy to answer questions regarding gold, porcelain, and other types of crowns and caps.