Understanding Dental Crowns: What You Need to Know About the Different Types

Understanding Dental Crowns: What You Need to Know About the Different Types By Maylands Dental Centre | May 9, 2023

Understanding Dental Crowns: What You Need to Know About the Different Types

A healthy set of teeth is essential not only for a radiant smile but also for your overall well-being. Sometimes, however, teeth can become damaged or weakened, and in those cases, dental crowns might be the solution you need.

Understanding the different types of dental crowns and the materials they’re made of is crucial in making an informed decision for your dental health.

In this blog post, we’ll explore various aspects of dental crowns to give you a comprehensive understanding of this popular dental treatment.

We’ll discuss what dental crowns are, why you might need one, factors to consider when choosing the right dental crown, the materials used, and their pros and cons. Additionally, we’ll delve into the dental crown procedure and the costs involved and even explore some alternatives.

So let’s dive in and learn about dental crown benefits and how they can be good for oral health!

Summary of the Content:

  • Dental crowns are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and restoring damaged or decayed ones.
  • Factors to consider when choosing the right dental crown include durability, appearance, and cost.
  • Various materials used for dental crowns include porcelain, metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, and zirconia.
  • Each dental crown material has its unique characteristics, with pros and cons to consider before making a decision.
  • Proper care and maintenance are necessary to prolong the longevity of dental crowns.
  • The dental crown procedure involves multiple steps, including tooth preparation, impressions, and placement of temporary and final dental crowns.
  • Costs associated with dental crowns can vary, with factors like material and clinic location influencing the price. Payment options include health funds, government schemes, and finance services.
  • Dental crown alternatives are available, with advantages and disadvantages to consider.
  • Choosing the right dental crown type depends on individual needs and consultation with an experienced dentist.
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What are Dental Crowns, and Why Might You Need One?

Dental crowns are custom-made tooth-shaped caps that encase the entire tooth from the gum line upwards. They help restore a tooth’s strength, appearance, and function.

There are various reasons why a patient may require this type of restoration, such as:

  • Restoring a damaged or decayed tooth:
    Dental crowns support a tooth weakened by decay, fractures, or other types of damage.
  • Improving appearance:
    Dental crowns can enhance the appearance of misshapen teeth, giving them a more natural look. They can also be fabricated to mimic natural tooth colour in order to address discoloured teeth.
  • Reinforcing a tooth after a root canal treatment:
    After root canal therapy
    , a dental crown is often placed to protect the remaining tooth structure and provide strength for chewing.
  • Supporting a dental bridge:
    Dental crowns can be used as anchors to hold a dental bridge securely in place, replacing missing teeth. They are attached to adjacent teeth to support and secure the artificial tooth in a bridge.
  • Capping a dental implant:
    A dental crown is usually attached to an implant to act as a dental prosthesis. It helps replace a missing tooth and restores oral function.
  • Smile makeovers:
    Dental crowns can contribute to cosmetic enhancements, making them one of the treatments that can be included in a smile makeover treatment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Dental Crown

When selecting the ideal dental crown type for your needs, it’s important to consider several factors, including:

  • Material:
    There is a selection of materials that can be used in fabricating a dental crown, and each material has its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Some materials offer greater strength and durability, while others focus on a more natural appearance. Discuss with your dentist the dental crown materials suitable for your needs.
  • Location of the tooth:
    The position of the tooth in your mouth can impact the type of crown you need. For example, back teeth usually require a stronger material to withstand the forces of chewing. In contrast, front teeth might benefit from a more aesthetically pleasing material that mimics the natural colour of your teeth.
  • Aesthetics:
    Consider how important the appearance of the dental crown is to you. Some types of crowns closely resemble natural teeth, while others have a metal base or metal structure that may be visible.
  • Cost:
    The price of dental crowns can vary depending on the material used and the complexity of the procedure. It’s essential to weigh the dental crown benefits against the costs to make an informed decision.
  • Dental care:
    Different types of dental crowns may require specific care and maintenance routines. Speak to your dentist about the level of care necessary to maintain the longevity of your chosen type of dental crown.

By considering these factors and discussing your options with your dentist, you can find a dental crown that meets your unique needs and preferences.

The Different Materials Used for Dental Crowns

Choosing the right dental crown material is crucial for achieving the desired results, whether it’s restoring function, enhancing appearance, or both.

Here are the various dental crown materials available and their unique characteristics. Knowing these can help you make an informed decision about which type is most suitable for your needs.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns, also known as all-porcelain crowns or all-ceramic crowns, are a popular choice due to their ability to closely mimic the natural colour and appearance of your original tooth. The high level of aesthetics of porcelain crowns makes it one of the top choices for dental crowns used in front teeth, where aesthetics are a priority. While they offer superior aesthetics, porcelain crowns may not be as durable as other options and may require more careful maintenance to prevent chipping or cracking.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns, which can be made from gold alloy, stainless steel, or base metal alloys, such as copper, are known for their strength and durability. Gold crowns, in particular, have been a long-standing choice in dentistry due to their biocompatibility and resistance to tooth decay.

Metal crowns are often recommended for back or posterior teeth, where the forces of chewing are the strongest. While they provide excellent support to weakened teeth, their metallic colour may be less desirable for some patients.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFM) combine the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain. These crowns feature a metal core with a porcelain coating, offering both durability and a natural appearance.

However, PFM crowns may require more tooth reduction than other options. The metal base also causes darkening of the gum line, which can be an aesthetic concern for some. 

Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns are made from a strong, tooth-coloured ceramic material that closely resembles the appearance of natural teeth. They are known for their superior strength and minimal tooth preparation requirements.

One of the advantages of zirconia crowns is that they can be used for both front and back teeth, making them a versatile option for those seeking strength and aesthetics. Also, since zirconia is a non-metallic material, they are a popular choice for patients who develop an allergic reaction to metals. 

Each of these dental crown materials offers unique advantages and disadvantages. By understanding their characteristics and discussing your needs with your dentist, you can select the most appropriate dental crown material for your situation.

Pros and Cons of Each Dental Crown Material

Being aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each dental crown material can help you make an informed decision when choosing the most suitable type for your needs.

Here are the pros and cons of the various dental crown materials, providing you with valuable information to assist you in your decision-making process.

Porcelain Crowns

Pros:

  • Natural aesthetic:
    Porcelain crowns closely resemble the appearance of natural teeth, making them a popular choice for an improved smile makeover.
  • Colour matching:
    The material can be easily matched to the natural colour of your surrounding teeth, providing a seamless and beautiful smile.


Cons:

  • Durability:
    Porcelain crowns may be more prone to chipping or cracking compared to other materials, requiring more careful maintenance.
  • Cost:
    These crowns tend to be more expensive than other options, such as metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

 

Metal Crowns

Pros:

  • Durability:
    Metal crowns, including gold alloy and stainless steel crowns, are known for their impressive strength and ability to withstand the forces of chewing.
  • Longevity:
    Crowns made of this strong material are less likely to experience damage over time compared to porcelain crowns.


Cons:

  • Aesthetics:
    The metallic appearance of these crowns may be less desirable for some patients, particularly for front teeth.
  • Allergies:
    Some patients may be allergic to certain metals, such as base metal alloys or non-noble metals.

 

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

Pros:

  • Strength and appearance:
    PFM crowns combine the durability of metal with the natural aesthetic of porcelain, offering both functional and cosmetic benefits for patients.
  • Versatility:
    These crowns can be used for front or back teeth, depending on the treatment plan and individual needs.

 

Cons:

  • Tooth reduction:
    PFM crowns require more tooth reduction than other options, potentially affecting the natural tooth structure.
  • Potential for visible metal:
    The metal base of these crowns may become visible over time, especially if there is gum recession or wear on the porcelain layer.

 

Zirconia Crowns

Pros:

  • Durability:
    Zirconia crowns are known for their impressive strength, making them a durable alternative for patients with weak or damaged teeth.
  • Aesthetics:
    These crowns closely resemble the appearance of natural teeth and can be used for both front and back teeth.
  • Minimal tooth preparation:
    Zirconia crowns often require less tooth reduction compared to other materials, preserving more of your natural tooth structure.

 

Cons:

  • Cost:
    Zirconia crowns are more expensive than other dental crown materials, such as metal, porcelain and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.


By understanding the pros and cons of each dental crown material, you can work with your dentist to choose the most appropriate option for your unique situation, ultimately achieving a healthy, natural-looking smile.

How to Maintain Your Dental Crowns for Longevity

Taking proper care of your dental crowns can extend their lifespan and help maintain their appearance and functionality. Here are a few essential tips for looking after your dental crowns so that they remain in excellent condition for as long as possible.

  1. Practice good oral hygiene:
    Regular brushing and flossing are crucial for maintaining the health of your natural teeth and crowns alike. Make sure to clean the area around the crown thoroughly to prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay.
  2. Avoid hard or sticky foods:
    Consuming hard or sticky foods can potentially damage your dental crowns, particularly if they are made of porcelain. Be mindful of what you eat and avoid putting excessive pressure on your crowns.
  3. Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth:
    Teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause wear and tear on both natural teeth and dental crowns. If you’re prone to grinding, consider wearing a night guard to protect your crowns and surrounding teeth.
  4. Schedule regular dental visits:
    Visiting your dentist regularly will allow them to monitor the condition of your dental crowns and address any issues before they become more severe.
  5. Address loose crowns immediately:
    If you notice a loose crown, contact your dentist as soon as possible for a crown repair or replacement.

The Dental Crown Procedure: What to Expect

The dental crown procedure involves several steps, from the initial consultation to the placement of the permanent crown. Here’s a walk-through of each step of the dental procedure, helping you understand what to expect during your dental crown treatment.

  1. Crown consultation:
    During the initial appointment, your dentist will assess your tooth and determine if a dental crown is the most suitable option. They will discuss the different types of dental crowns and crown materials, allowing you to choose the right option for your needs.
  2. Tooth preparation:
    Your dentist will prepare your tooth by trimming a thin layer of natural tooth enamel to accommodate the dental crown. Depending on the extent of the damage, they may need to use a filling material to build up the prepared tooth.
  3. Dental impression:
    Once your tooth is prepared, your dentist will take a tray impression or a digital impression of the tooth and surrounding area. It is important to take an accurate impression of the prepared tooth as these are sent to a dental lab, where your custom-made crown is created.
  4. Temporary crown placement:
    Your dentist will place a temporary crown to protect the prepared tooth. This temporary restoration will remain in place until your final dental crown is ready for placement.

  5. Final dental crown placement: Upon your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit and colour of your final dental crown. If everything looks good, they will use dental cement to secure the crown onto your prepared tooth.

By understanding what to expect during the dental crown procedure and how to maintain your dental crowns, you can make informed decisions about your oral health and enjoy dental crown benefits such as a strong, functional, and aesthetically pleasing dental restoration.

Understanding the Costs Associated with Dental Crowns

The cost of dental crowns can vary depending on several factors, with the average cost in Australia being around $2,100, according to the 2020 national dental fee survey. In this part, we’ll discuss the factors that affect the cost of dental crowns and the various payment options available to make the treatment more accessible and affordable.

Factors affecting the cost of dental crowns include:

  • Dental crown materials:
    The type of material used in the dental crown, such as porcelain, zirconia, or gold alloy, can influence the overall cost.
  • The complexity of the procedure:
    The more complex the dental crown procedure, the higher the cost will be due to the increased time and resources required.
  • Location and expertise:
    The cost of dental crowns can also vary depending on the dentist’s experience and the location of the dental practice.


Payment options for dental crowns:

  • Health funds:
    Some health funds may provide coverage for dental crown procedures, with the amount of coverage varying depending on your insurance policy.
  • Government schemes:
    Certain government schemes, such as for DVA card holders and the Metropolitan Patients Dental Subsidy Scheme, may provide financial assistance for eligible patients.
  • Fund My Dental:
    This dental finance option allows you to pay for your dental crown procedure in instalments.
  • HUMM, Zip, and Supercare:
    These financing options offer flexible payment plans for dental treatments, including dental crowns.

Dental Crown Alternatives: Is There a More Suitable Option for You?

While dental crowns offer many benefits, they may not be the ideal solution for every situation. Here are alternative treatment options and their advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Dental fillings:
    For less severe tooth decay or damage, dental fillings may be a more affordable option. However, they may not provide the same level of strength and durability as dental crowns.
  2. Inlays and onlays:
    These restorations are used for moderate tooth decay or damage and can be made from porcelain, gold, or composite resin. While they provide more support than fillings, they may not offer the same level of protection as dental crowns.
  3. Dental Veneers:
    Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or composite resin that cover the front surface of the teeth. They can improve the appearance of teeth with minor imperfections but may not provide the same strength and durability as dental crowns.
  4. Dental bonding:
    This procedure involves applying a tooth-coloured composite resin to the tooth’s surface
    . While it can be an affordable and minimally invasive alternative, it is not as durable or long-lasting as a dental crown.

By understanding the costs associated with dental crowns and the alternative options available, you can make a more informed decision about the right course of action for your specific dental needs.

Choosing the Right Type for You

Selecting the right dental crown type is essential for a comfortable fit, impressive aesthetics, and long-lasting results. Here are some tips to help you choose the most suitable dental crown for your needs:

  1. Consult with an experienced dentist:
    A knowledgeable dentist can guide you in selecting the most appropriate type of dental crown for you, considering factors such as tooth location, damage from decay, and your personal preferences.
  2. Consider your aesthetic goals:
    If you desire a beautiful, natural-looking smile, porcelain crowns may be the ideal option, as they can closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth. However, for molars, the back teeth that are less visible, metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal or zirconia crowns can provide extra strength to withstand heavy chewing forces.
  3. Evaluate your oral health:
    If you have a decay-weakened tooth, gaps between teeth, fractured teeth, or broken teeth, it’s important to choose a dental crown type that not only improves the appearance of your smile but also supports healthy tooth structure and addresses any underlying issues.
  4. Assess the required durability:
    For patients with heavy chewing forces or a history of grinding their teeth, durable crown options like zirconia or gold alloy crowns may offer added protection and longevity.
  5. Budget considerations:
    While dental crown benefits may outweigh the costs, it’s essential to factor in your budget when selecting a dental crown type. Discuss the various dental crown materials and their associated costs with your dentist to determine the most suitable option for your financial situation.
  6. Weigh the health perspectives:
    Some patients may have allergies or sensitivities to certain dental crown materials. Be sure to discuss any health concerns with your dentist so they can recommend the most compatible dental crown type for you.

By considering these factors and working closely with your dentist, you can confidently choose the right dental crown type to achieve an amazing, aesthetically-pleasing smile and maintain the health of your adult teeth.

Final Thoughts

Dental crowns play a vital role in restoring and maintaining the health and appearance of your teeth. With various types of dental crowns, materials, and procedures available, making an informed decision that suits your needs and preferences is crucial.

At Maylands Dental Centre, our experienced team is committed to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. We’ll guide you through the process of selecting the ideal dental crown type so that you receive the most suitable treatment for your specific situation.

Don’t wait any longer to take the first step towards a radiant and confident smile. Book a dental appointment with us today through the Maylands Dental Centre website, or give us a call to discuss your dental needs. We look forward to helping you achieve optimal oral health and a stunning smile that lasts a lifetime!

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Content published on Maylandsdentalcentre.com.au is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any decision based on your own personal circumstances. You should take independent medical advice from a professional or independently research and verify any information that you find on our Website and wish to rely upon.

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