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Dental crowns: what types there are, in which cases they are used and how long they last

They are the pieces that allow us to fulfill the masticatory functions and protect the inside of the tooth.

Although, precisely because they are visible, they have an important role in the dental aesthetics of our smile. In dentistry artificial crowns are used very often, not only to improve the appearance of the denture, but also to correct possible conditions in the teeth.

Next, we will explain what types of dental crowns exist, in addition to detailing in which situations it is advisable to resort to them.

Dental crowns, what are they and in what cases are they used?

A dental crown is a fixed prosthesis that is placed on a tooth, although they can also go over implants.

This cover covers the entire surface of the tooth and behaves like a natural one, fulfilling all the aesthetic and chewing functions that the patient needs.

The crown can be made of different materials, which are always custom-made for the tooth on which it will be placed, and mimics the shape and color of the patient's denture.

 

Fundamentally, crowns are used in four cases.

1. Reinforce a damaged tooth

As we have said,

crowns are the first thing we see when we open our mouths.

However, we must not forget that they also have important functions within the oral cavity and it is essential to keep them healthy, not only for aesthetics. For reasons of dental health, it is always advisable to reinforce a tooth whose visible part is clearly damaged.

Dental wear can be caused by various reasons, causing greater dental sensitivity and, in the most severe cases, even affects the dental structure.

It is necessary to reinforce a tooth if it has suffered a strong trauma (with breakage of the dental piece), if it has lost a lot of surface due to a filling or if it has undergone endodontics. In any of the cases raised, and to ensure the correct strength of the dental piece, the professional performs a carving.

This procedure consists of lowering the tooth surface up to 2 millimeters, both in height and thickness, until obtaining a conical shape, to later cement the dental crown on it.

 

It is necessary to reduce the natural tooth to avoid that, once the cover has been placed, the dental piece is excessively thick. Before starting with the carving intervention, local anesthesia will be applied so that the patient does not suffer any pain.

2. Support a bridge

When a person is going to carry a dental bridge, it is important that adjacent teeth (abutments) offer the necessary support.

In case one of these pieces is missing, the dentist may recommend the placement of a crown.

In this way, the abutments can withstand the masticatory loads and keep the entire dental prosthesis anchored. Dental covers can be made of three types of materials: porcelain, metal-porcelain or zirconium

3. Crown over implants

The lack of a tooth can wreak havoc on oral health and is not only an aesthetic problem.

When a patient has lost a tooth, it is recommended that he undergo surgery to have an implant.

On this, the dental crown will be located that will be well fixed by means of a screw. Through this method, it is not necessary to perform any carving on the teeth located next to the crown, as with bridges.

4. Aesthetic reasons

It is possible that the person wants to modify some merely aesthetic aspect of their dental pieces.

Above all, it happens with the front teeth, since they are the most visible when we smile. If the shape, color or position of the teeth is not the one you like the most, a dental cover can change the smile design very clearly.

Depending on the case, the dentist may also recommend the use of dental veneers, as they also serve to change the appearance of the teeth, although there are differences with respect to crowns.

 

Kinds of dental covers and features

As we have indicated, crowns not only have an aesthetic but also a functional role. Therefore, they can be used on any tooth, being its most common use in molars and premolars.

These teeth are those that have a clearer presence in chewing, so they must be resistant and effectively support the mandibular loads. In addition, being located in the back of the mouth, they tend to accumulate a greater number of cavities, since they are less accessible teeth during brushing.

Although the covers are used in any dental piece, the aesthetic and functional needs of each varies and therefore the dentist will recommend one material against another.

Zirconium and porcelain: the most aesthetic crowns

Crowns made of zirconium and porcelain are often used for the anterior teeth, as they offer more aesthetic solutions. These materials allow to adapt to the tone of the adjacent teeth, so the result is harmonious and natural, with hardly any difference from the natural teeth.

Metal-porcelain covers

On the other hand, covers made of metal and porcelain are used in the wheels because of the resistance they offer. A cap made of metal is placed on the remaining tooth, which will be subsequently coated with porcelain to give the appearance of a real tooth.

Its use is not indicated in the teeth visible in the smile, since being formed by metal, it is possible that the aesthetic finish is not the desired one.

 

What type of crown is most recommended?

As we have explained, there are three options for the patient to choose between one material or another. However, the most common is that the person only has to choose between zirconium crowns or porcelain crowns.

This is because, in case you need a cover on the molars, you will put a metal-porcelain in almost all cases.

Although both porcelain and zirconium crowns offer an optimal aesthetic result, the latter offer greater advantages due to their composition. Even so, the professional will always advise the patient the option that best suits their circumstances.

What do you think?

We hope this message has been very helpful for you, let us know your opinion about Dental Crowns.


Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

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