All Types of Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth which has been prepared by a dentist, to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?

A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:

    • To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
    • To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
    • To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
    • To hold a dental bridge in place
    • To cover misshaped or severely discoloured teeth
    • To cover a dental implant
    • To make a cosmetic modification

What Types of Crowns Are Available?

Full Metal Crowns 

Since ancient times, crowns have been made from yellow gold and is still the case today in private dentistry although costs have meant that NHS dentistry is unable to offer this anymore.  Other modern bio-compatible alloys are now used in its place on the NHS for example, Nickel, Chromium and Palladium.  Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns and once in place can withstand biting and chewing forces well for many years.  Modern full metal crowns are nowadays used for people who have little space when biting together or grind their teeth and are generally the cheapest option.  Metal crowns are a good choice for out of sight back teeth, if a porcelain option is not suitable.

Porcelain Fused to Metal

Porcelain crowns have a thin metal sub-structure to give them strength and can be colour matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metal crowns). These crowns are the mainstay of modern dentistry and through different layers of porcelain, can be made in several grades of aesthetic quality.  NHS crowns are obviously basic and clinical, whereas private quality crowns have more detail and are more lifelike.  Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.

Pressed Crown-All Ceramic Crown

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural colour match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies or cosmetically would like to change their tooth/smile appearance.  Unlike other crowns, Pressed Crowns are unsupported by a ‘cap’ or substructure, and gain their strength from their fit and bond to the tooth, acting like new layers of real tooth.  Pressed Crowns are, as the name suggests, a type of ceramic (lithium disilicate) which can be pressed into the shape of a tooth and is a different way of producing a highly aesthetic crown.

Can Be Minimally Invasive with less preparation. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth if clinically suitable.

Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia Crowns are similar to Porcelain Bonded Crowns in that they are hand built with porcelain powder over a substructure, except the substructure is Zirconia.  This is a bio-compatible man-made material which is immensely strong but also allows light to pass through it (unlike metal) enabling the most lifelike porcelain restorations possible.  It is available in many shades and also, due to its high strength can be used the same way a full metal crown can, but tooth coloured.  A Full Contour Zirconia (no additional porcelain), is a good clinical choice for bruxists and grinders who wish not to have metal showing.

If you are looking for an all-ceramic restoration that is fantastic aesthetically and is ultimately strong, then Zirconia is the recommended choice.

Virtually unbreakable (Zirconia substructure)

Ideal for patients who suffer from bruxism and grinders (Full Contour only)

More aesthetic than metal and full cast gold crowns

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