When your dentist says that you need a crown during your dental exam, royalty is not usually the first thing that comes to your mind! A dental crown, otherwise known as a cap, covers the tooth and can vary in function, depending upon the position of the tooth. Crowns usually cover all of the visible part of the tooth and can vary in size and appearance.
A crown can be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking, hold together an already broken or worn tooth, cover the tooth that has a large filling or dental implant, hold a dental bridge in place, or even support a cosmetic modification.
Several types of crowns are available, depending upon the requirements of the tooth to be treated. Stainless steel crowns can be used on permanent teeth, but are usually considered to be a temporary solution as compared to a custom fit crown. These types of crowns are also used on children's baby teeth because they are more cost-effective, since they will be lost over time.
Metal crowns are another option that includes gold alloys, or base-metal alloys. Metal crowns are notable due to their ability to withstand biting forces and rarely can be broken. Unfortunately, all metal crowns are the least cosmetically preferred manner to treat a tooth.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns more closely resemble a normal tooth. These types of crowns have been used on front and back teeth that demand a cosmetic consideration. However, the fired porcelain to the underlying metal sub-struction can chip over time and function. The most recent release of all porcelain crowns called Bruxzirs, considered chip-resistant and metal free, are showing great promise in addressing the cosmetic demands that present day patients require.