our denver dentists improve the integrity and beauty of smiles with dental crowns
Formerly called caps, dental crowns reinforce all sides of a tooth and cover the biting surface. Crowns are necessary when:
- A tooth is chipped, cracked, or has tiny cracks called craze lines
- A cavity is too large for a filling to repair
- A large filling fails and restoration with a new filling won’t suffice
- A root canal has been performed
- A single dental implant has been placed
- A bridge needs to be secured
- Cosmetic restoration is required
- Molars need to be built up to correct malocclusion
We use porcelain (ceramic), porcelain-fused-to-metal, or zirconia crowns as much as possible because these materials look like natural tooth enamel. These materials also resist staining, which is a nice bonus.
If a full crown isn’t necessary but a filling won’t sufficiently restore a tooth an inlay or onlay may be a more conservative yet completely effective alternative. These “partial crowns” may be applied to restore a tooth with decay or with a failed filling. Inlays fit into the biting surface of a tooth, over one or more cusps (points) and down the side of the tooth. Onlays are placed only on the sides of the teeth.
the right material for the right place
Ceramic usually works well for crowns on front teeth, all of those that show in a patient’s smile. Teeth in the front of the mouth bite foods, rather than chewing them. Ceramic alone is not strong enough to endure the pressure placed on back teeth (molars).
For teeth on the sides and in the back of the mouth, porcelain fused to metal may be a good option. It offers additional strength, as well as the look of natural enamel. Over time, if gum tissue recedes or thins, metal at the base of a PFM crown can present a dark line. Costlier PFMs are available to eliminate this issue. These crowns have porcelain all the way to the farthest margin of the tooth.
Back teeth must have the strongest crowns. For these restorations, we can use precious metal or, for a natural look, zirconia (or zirconium).
procedure for dental crowns
The first step is a thorough examination by one of our dentists. We’ll take digital x-rays to examine your teeth and their underlying structures, as well as your jawbone. If a tooth is damaged beyond what a filling can repair, your dentist may recommend an inlay, onlay, or full crown.
Placing a crown is a two-visit process. Any decay must be removed, and a tooth will be prepared by reducing enamel prior to crown placement. Once the tooth is prepped, digital impressions will be taken. These images will let the lab technician precisely fabricate your crown to fit perfectly onto the prepped tooth and against opposing teeth. Usually, a lab needs two weeks to craft a permanent, custom crown. You’ll wear a temporary crown in the meantime.
Expect a return visit to place the permanent crown. The fit of the restoration will be evaluated and, if necessary, manually altered before you leave our office.
what to expect with a dental crown
Caring for your restoration is much like caring for your natural teeth. At a minimum, you should floss daily and brush twice a day. We also recommend you avoid chewing on hard candies, ice, and other objects, such as pen caps. Always listen to your dentist regarding advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Also, attend checkups and cleanings every six months, and call us for an appointment if you notice any abnormalities with your restoration or oral health.
If you have a cracked, broken, or missing tooth, you may need a dental crown. Our Denver dentists at Metropolitan Dental are experienced in providing natural-looking customized crowns. Contact our office online or call us today at (303) 534-2626 to schedule your consultation.