If your teeth are:

  • Chipped
  • Damaged
  • Worn
  • Discolored
  • Broken
  • Weak

Understanding the types of crowns for teeth and options for improving your smile can help you regain the confidence you deserve.

Crowns – also known as caps – are dental prosthetics that fit the entire tooth surface, restoring it to its original shape and size. Dentists use crowns for oral health and cosmetic purposes.

There are several different types of crowns available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Talking to a dentist can help you to determine which type of crown is best for your situation.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at crowns and answer many of the most common questions we receive, including:

  • What does a crown do?
  • What are dental crowns made of?
  • What is the purpose of a crown on your tooth?
  • What are the different types of tooth crowns?
  • Which type of crown is best?

Let’s start with the basics.

What Is A Crown?

And no, we’re not talking about the kind that makes you royalty! A dental crown is a dental prosthetic or “cap” used to protect, restore, or enhance an existing tooth.

Depending on the patient’s needs, a dentist will use a crown to cover a portion of the tooth or the entire tooth.  

 So, what does a crown do, and why is a crown needed on a tooth? Dentists may choose to apply a crown in several instances.

What Does A Crown Do?

A crown provides strength to the tooth by covering it partially or entirely. Dental crowns help:

  • Restore the shape and size of a broken or grinded down tooth
  • Protect a weakened tooth from further decay
  • Reinforce strength of a filled tooth
  • Cover-up severe discoloration or misshapen teeth

Crowns restore your tooth’s natural appearance and protect damaged teeth without putting too much pressure on surrounding teeth or gums.

Because crowns are stronger than a traditional dental filling, your dentist may recommend crowns for teeth that require additional support and protection. Dentists may use a crown on teeth with large fillings or implants to prevent them from fracturing.

In addition to oral necessity, crowns have cosmetic purposes too. Dentists can use crowns to cover severely discovered or misshapen teeth for aesthetic purposes.

To determine the best course of action, many dental professionals will order jaw and mouth x-rays to learn more about the status of your teeth and mouth.

What Are Dental Crowns Made Of?

If your dentist recommends a crown, you may ask, “What are crowns made of?”

Each material offers different benefits, so let’s look at three of the most common types of crowns for teeth.

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) Crown

A porcelain tooth crown fused to metal is one type of crown for teeth. The porcelain material gives the tooth that natural look that blends with the rest of your smile while the metal base makes the crown strong and sturdy.

A quality porcelain tooth crown is metal and non-toxic. The finished product offers a permanent look that can last for years.

Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns are made of a very strong material called zirconium. Because of the strength of this material, zirconia crowns are less likely to fracture and are one of the best quality crowns

In addition, zirconia crowns require less tooth structure to be removed than PFM crowns. They can also be closely matched to your natural tooth color, making them a good crown for front teeth.

Metal Crown

Metal (gold) crowns are the strongest types of crowns for teeth. They contain a base metal alloy that’s covered with either gold or nickel. Metal crowns are the most durable option, and dentists don’t need to grind down too much of the existing teeth to apply them.

Metal crowns are typically better for molars or back teeth as their metal color makes them noticeable. Back teeth also receive a lot of the chewing force, so using a stronger crown on molars can help reduce the likelihood of chipping a crown.

What Happens When You Get a Crown?

If your dentist decides a crown is the best course of treatment, you’ll usually need two appointments. 

At the first appointment, your dentist will:

  • Take x-rays
  • File the tooth or teeth receiving the crown(s)
  • Take an impression of the area to send to a lab
  • Place a temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready

Once the permanent crown arrives back from a lab (about two weeks), you’ll attend a second appointment where your dentist will attach it to your natural tooth. Once affixed, the best quality crowns can last a decade or more with proper care.

Which Type of Crown Is Best?

There are pros and cons to each type of crown. Depending on the issue that needs correcting, your dentist will help you determine which type of crown is best.

Your dentist may consider the following in their decision:

  • The location of the tooth
  • The condition and strength of the tooth
  • The extent of any damage or deterioration
  • Whether you still have adjacent healthy teeth
  • The length of time since you had a dental checkup for an accurate impression
  • The likelihood of future dental problems or fillings needed

After assessing your situation and taking all of the above into consideration, your dentist will provide you with a professional recommendation.

Learn More About The Best Types Of Crowns For Teeth With Northside Dental

Are you concerned about the condition of your teeth? Are you overwhelmed and looking for answers to questions like:

  • What Does a Crown Do?
  • What are dental crowns made of?
  • What is the purpose of a crown on your tooth?
  • What are the different types of tooth crowns?
  • Which type of crown is best?

At Northside Dental, we’re here to ease your fears and answer all your questions about the different types of crowns for teeth and other dentistry topics.

We’re committed to providing our patients with the best dental treatment in a comfortable, family-friendly environment. Our exceptional team uses state-of-the-art equipment and treatment methods to create and maintain healthy smiles that will last a lifetime.

To learn more about crowns and our other services, schedule an appointment online or take a virtual tour of our dental office in Richmond, VA.