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What is a Crown?

What is a crown? While everyone knows at least vaguely what a crown is, not many people know all about it. Today, we're talking about dental crowns.

A dental crown is a common procedure used to treat a variety of issues related to weak, broken, or decayed teeth. While many people have heard the term and may actually have crowns, they may not know exactly what a dental crown is and what it does. If you're considering dental crowns in Staten Island, then you're our neighbor. At Healthy Smiles, we want our neighbors to understand how our various services can help them get back their beautiful smiles. So what is a crown? Let's talk about it.

What is a crown?

A dental crown - commonly referred to as simply a crown - is a tooth-shaped cap used to restore weak, broken, or decayed teeth. Crowns are fitted snuggly over an existing tooth and bonded to it with cement to ensure a tight, natural-looking fit.

After the existing decay or damage has been removed, a small amount of enamel will be removed from the entire body of the tooth to allow both space and a place for the crown to sit. The crown will be dry-fitted to the tooth first to ensure a good fit, then it will be attatched to the tooth with cement for a long-term fit.

Types of Dental Crowns

There are several types of crowns, and they can all be great options for specific issues. The kind that's right for an individual is based on a combination of personal preference, the dentist's opinion, and the specific oral health need involving the crown.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns can be made from gold, palladium, nickel, and chromium. They rarely chip or break, they require the least amount of enamel removal, and they stand up to wear and tear the best. In fact, the only drawback to metal crowns is the color. This color issue means that metal crowns are most often used on the back molars, as they're rarely seen.

PFM Crowns

PFM, or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns combine metal's durability with the natural appearance of porcelain. These crowns are more durable than porcelain, and the porcelain exterior can be matched to the color of your existing teeth.

However, PFM crowns, while strong, do have their drawbacks. Over time, the porcelain exterior may chip off of the underlying metal. PFM crowns may also gradually wear away the enamel of the teeth that touch the crown when you close your mouth.

Pressed Ceramic Crowns

Similar to PFM crowns, pressed ceramic crowns have a highly durable ceramic inner core. This core is made by melting and pressing ceramic in a very hot oven to create a highly durable core over which layers of porcelain are added. Like PFM crowns, pressed ceramic crowns have a porcelain exterior that can be matched to your teeth's existing color. However, these crowns have the same drawbacks, namely the outer coating chipping away over time.

All-Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns

These crowns mimic the appearance of tooth enamel more closely than any other crown type, and they're a good choice for those with metal allergies. All-ceramic or porcelain crowns can be made from a variety of materials, but one of the most popular is zirconium dioxide. Zirconium crowns are highly durable and can withstand more pressure than other types of ceramic crowns. Additionally, they're gentle on opposing teeth, causing less enamel wear on them.

Same-Day Dental Crowns

CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) is used by many dentists to provide crowns while their patients wait. Using this software, the dentist takes a dental impression and then designs a custom crown. The data is then sent to an on-site milling machine that crafts the new crown from a solid block of ceramic.

With this technology, patients can get a durable ceramic crown in one office visit.

All-Resin Crowns

Resin dental crowns are usually less expensive than other types of crowns. Unfortunately, they're also fragile and more likely to break than any other kind of crown. These crowns are generally only used to make temporary crowns because they only last for three to five years on average.

When are crowns necessary? 

Crowns are used to preserve existing teeth in a variety of ways. They can be used to strengthen a weak tooth or to cover a root canal. Dental crowns are used to:

  • Strengthen a weak tooth
  • Protect and support a cracked tooth
  • Restore a worn-down or broken tooth
  • Hold a dental bridge in place
  • Cover severely stained or discolored teeth
  • Cover a root canal
  • Cover a dental implant

How long do crowns last?

Crowns can last for as long as 30 years when they're properly cared for and maintained. However, they may need to be replaced sooner if they get cracked or otherwise damaged. The average lifespan of a crown is about 15 years.

To ensure a long-lasting crown, practice good dental hygiene, rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash, and avoid extremely hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky foods.

What is a crown? It's a valuable smile restoration tool.

What is a crown? It's an excellent way to treat a variety of tooth issues. If you have chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth, schedule an appointment with us. We've been providing dental crowns in Staten Island for years to satisfied patients, and we can use that expertise to help you get back your smile. So give us a call. We'd love to help you with your specific needs.