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).