What Are Dental Crowns Made of and Which Are Best?
The Versatility of Dental Crown Materials
Dental crowns are one of the most well-known and popular restorative dentistry treatments out there. A big factor in their popularity is that they’re versatile enough to treat many different dental issues, so when you need to restore or even save a severely damaged tooth, a dental crown is your best friend!
Dental crowns are made from a range of materials, each of which provides unique strengths and weaknesses. When you get a dental crown at our office, you’re able to choose the material for your crown. This choice is just another layer of customizability, ensuring that your specific treatment goals and priorities are met.
But what dental crown materials do we offer, how do you know which option is best for you, and what’s the treatment process like? We want you to feel confident in your choices about your treatment, so we’ve put together a guide to getting dental crowns at our family dental practice in Austin, TX.
Why would a tooth need to be crowned?
Since dental crowns are designed to restore and replace teeth that have suffered severe damage from an injury or decay, they’re quite a versatile restorative dentistry treatment. This versatility means dental crowns can be used to treat a wide variety of issues.
If your tooth has suffered a major crack or break, a dental crown is an essential way to restore its function and protect it from future injury while sealing the vulnerable part of your tooth off from bacteria to help prevent future decay. Both injuries and major decay can weaken teeth, so you may also need a dental crown to hold a weakened tooth together.
Similarly, if your tooth has suffered severe decay, a dental crown may be necessary to restore its function and protect it from future damage. Crowns are also sometimes used to cover and restore teeth that are discolored, irregularly shaped, or crooked.
What are the advantages of different crown materials?
As technology has improved, so have options for treatments like dental crowns. Nowadays, dental crowns can be made from a variety of different materials, each of which has its unique strengths and weaknesses. At Parmer Lane, we offer three different crown materials for you to choose from to ensure that you get a crown that meets all your treatment needs and preferences.
Porcelain crowns are one of the most popular crown materials out there because of their natural appearance. Their size, shape, and shade are all carefully and expertly crafted to match your natural teeth, producing such beautifully natural results that no one will know you have a crown. This is a huge advantage of porcelain crowns for many people. Since they don’t contain metal, they’re also ideal for people with metal allergies.
Porcelain crowns are durable enough to withstand the same daily wear-and-tear as your natural teeth, but they’re not as strong as zirconia or gold crowns. Anything that risks damaging your natural teeth could also chip, crack, or break your porcelain crown. Despite this, porcelain is harder than tooth enamel, so it can sometimes wear down the enamel of adjacent teeth over time. These factors mean that they’re not always the best option for people who clench or grind their teeth. Their durability and natural beauty still make them an incredibly popular option, though, and they can last 15 years or more with great oral hygiene.
Unlike porcelain and zirconia crowns, gold crowns aren’t designed to blend in with your smile. They’re noticeable on your teeth, flashing even on your back molars when you laugh or open your mouth wide. If you don’t mind their appearance, though, gold crowns are a great option for back teeth as they are as gentle on your mouth as they are durable.
Gold crowns don’t wear down the teeth adjacent to them and are unlikely to trigger metal allergies—though, in rare cases, they can—and yet they’re incredibly resistant to damage. They don’t fracture, break, or wear down easily, so they’re a particularly good choice if you tend to clench or grind your teeth.
This durability pairs well with the strong seal they create to keep out bacteria, giving gold crowns the strength and durability to last around 20 years or more with great oral hygiene—perhaps even a lifetime!
Despite the great benefits other modern crown options provide, the benefits of gold crowns make it easy to see why they’ve been used to make dental crowns for longer than any other material, as well as why they remain a popular choice today.
What if you need your crown to have the durability of metal but want it to blend in with your smile? If this is the case, zirconia might be the ideal crown for you! Zirconia crowns are considered a type of ceramic crown, but they’re made from a naturally white metal alloy related to titanium called zirconium oxide.
Just like porcelain crowns, zirconia crowns are expertly crafted to mimic the size, shape, and shade of your natural teeth, helping them blend into your smile. They don’t look as natural as porcelain crowns do, however, so they’re often best used on your back teeth.
Your molars are where their strength truly shines, anyway! Zirconia crowns have the durability of gold crowns as well as their gentleness—they cause less wear on the natural teeth adjacent to them than porcelain crowns do.
This makes zirconia crowns an excellent choice if you clench or grind your teeth but still want a crown that will blend in with your smile. Since the material they’re made from is related to titanium, it’s also biocompatible, which means it won’t cause irritation or allergic reactions even if you have metal allergies. Studies show that zirconia crowns can last 10 to 15 years with a great oral hygiene routine.
What are the benefits of a dentist offering multiple crown materials?
When it comes to treatments like dental crowns, everyone has different needs and wants. Going to a dentist who offers multiple crown materials to choose from ensures that you’ll be able to find a crown that matches your needs. Whether you’re looking for a dental crown that’s durable, budget-friendly, or naturally beautiful, choosing your crown material gives you more control over your treatment and helps ensure that you’ll love the result.
Dentists like Dr. Garcia, who offer multiple crown materials, have a lot of experience with each type of crown. This means that they’re uniquely qualified to give you expert advice about which type of crown is best for your situation.
What is the dental crown placement process like?
At Parmer Lane, we use cutting-edge dental technology to give you the best possible results. The entire process generally takes two appointments spread out over a few weeks. During your first appointment, Dr. Garcia will treat any issues like decay or an injury to your tooth, including performing a root canal if necessary. She’ll also shape the sides and top of your tooth so that the crown will be able to fit over it.
Once this is complete, she’ll take a detailed scan of your mouth using our iTero scanner. This scanner is a cutting-edge piece of dental technology that does away with the need for the messy goop used to take an impression of your teeth. The scan is quick and comfortable, and the resulting image is an incredibly accurate 3D model of your mouth. The model is sent off to a specialized lab that designs and mills your crown, ensuring that your crown is designed to fit into your smile perfectly.
Since it will take a couple of weeks for your crown to arrive at our office, Dr. Garcia will place a temporary crown over your tooth to protect it while you wait. After your permanent crown arrives at our office, we’ll set up a final appointment for you.
This appointment is incredibly simple, as all Dr. Garcia needs to do is numb your mouth and swap out your temporary crown for your permanent one, making sure that it fits comfortably and feels completely natural. Then you’re free to go home with your new, healthy smile!
Ready to start your journey to a happy, healthy smile?
Dental crowns are designed to transform and protect your oral health, but they’re also meant to help you feel confident in your smile. That means something a little different to everyone, so having the power to choose what your crown will be made of gives you that extra confidence that you’ll love the results.