Dental crowns serve an important function-- and are a vital part of maintaining the health of your mouth. By acting as a barrier between the broken or damaged tooth, they enable the patient to go about their everyday lives-- free of tooth pain. But sometimes people are hesitant to have one put in place because they aren’t sure what they are or why they are even important at all. In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • What are dental crowns and why are they useful?
  • Types of materials available for dental crowns

Dental crowns are a way to stop further damage to your teeth.

What are dental crowns and why are they useful?

Dental crowns are an extremely important tool used by dentists to help ensure the full functionality of your mouth and teeth. You and your dentist should discuss whether or not they will be helpful in your particular situation. If you have a cracked, decayed, or damaged tooth, these caps will be custom fitted to each of your teeth so that they sit perfectly on the crown-- or the part of the tooth that shows above the gum line. They are cemented in place so that they permanently take over the appearance and functionality of your damaged tooth. Crowns protect the tooth so you can resume eating and drinking without any further tooth or mouth pain. Sometimes dental crowns are used to hold dental bridges in place as well.

Dental crowns are extremely useful because they can restore the shape and strength of the original tooth. They will protect the sensitive, damaged tooth that sits underneath it from food particles and bacteria-- keeping your tooth pain-free. Another reason these tools are so useful-- and also why dentists recommend them-- is that they keep the structure of the mouth intact. If a tooth is lost or damaged in some way, the mouth and other teeth try to compensate. This can result in a change in the way you bite-- which can lead to other complications in the future.

There are a couple of choices when selecting dental crown material

Materials available for dental crowns

Now that you know what a dental crown is-- and why it is such an important tool for dentists-- let’s take a look at the types of material dental crowns can be made out of. You and your dentist should discuss what material is best for you and your particular situation.

  1. Ceramic

Ceramic crowns are a good choice if you’re looking to blend in your dental crown with the remainder of your teeth. These crowns are often made out of porcelain and do not have the silver line on the tooth that you see with the porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns. This option however is often the most expensive-- and depending where you live can cost anywhere from $800-$3000 per tooth. Ceramic dental crowns also may not be as strong as a porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crown either, and have a tendency to chip or break more easily.

  1. Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)

This type of dental crown is widely used and consider especially durable. When porcelain is fused to metal it creates an even stronger crown than just by using porcelain alone. The dentist may have to remove some of the damaged tooth matter in order to cap it correctly-- but once it is attached-- proves to be extremely long lasting. They also have a high record of success-- some have even lasted close to 70 years. These types of crowns can cost you between $875-$1400 per tooth.

Gold coins
Gold alloys are very strong and hold up extremely well to wear and tear.

  1. Gold alloys

Another option is to go with a gold alloy-- which is where a gold cap will sit on top of your damaged tooth. This is often a mix of gold with other metals such as palladium or chromium. These caps provide an extremely strong bond to the tooth, and are biocompatible with the gums. Gold alloy dental crowns rarely chip or break and do not wear away easily. They can last a long time-- however-- are the least natural looking of all the dental crowns. If you have a molar that needs to be capped which is out of sight, you might want to consider this option. These crowns can cost anywhere from $835-$2465.

  1. Base metal alloys

The final option for you to consider for dental crowns is to use a base metal alloy. These non-noble blends provide great strength and provide resistance to corrosion. Base metal alloy crowns also require the dentist to remove the least amount of original tooth in order to install. This type of non-noble combination of metals is very durable and will not interfere with the surrounding healthy teeth. Base metal alloys typically cost around the same as the gold alloys, around $835-$2465.

No matter what type of dental crown material you choose, it’s always the right decision to protect your tooth from further damage. If you’d like to discuss dental crowns and if they’re right for you, contact Dr. Elizabeth Wakim’s office today!