Tooth decay can be treated and further prevented through the use of fillings, but our teeth are sometimes beyond the help of fillings. When a decayed tooth cannot support fillings, or if a tooth is cracked, chipped, or broken, dental crowns can be used to protect the tooth from more extensive harm. Exposed damage on a tooth’s surface may lead to further decay that can extend down to the tooth’s roots, causing painful complications.
Over the centuries, dental crowns have been made from a wide variety of materials. Gold, silver, iron, and even lead have been used to fix damaged teeth, though lead fell out of favor when its toxic properties were discovered. Today, a wide variety of possible materials still exists to suit the varied needs of individuals. Understanding the benefits and characteristics of each material can help you determine what type of crown would be best suited for your needs. Here are some common crown materials used in dentistry today.
Porcelain is the most popular crown material because it is the most aesthetically pleasing. The color of porcelain can be adjusted to closely match the surrounding teeth, giving a more natural appearance than metallic crowns. To add strength to porcelain in order to reduce the risk of breaking, it is commonly fused to metal. All-porcelain crowns are especially beneficial for people who suffer from metal allergies and cannot have metal crowns.
It’s worth noting that the “porcelain” in porcelain crown refers to its color, not its precise composition. Porcelain crowns can be made from a variety of materials, some of them as strong or stronger than metal crowns.
Softer metals such as gold or nickel (a base-metal alloy) are another good choice. Metal runs less risk of chipping or cracking than all-porcelain crowns. Their higher durability makes them ideal for molars. Metal crowns usually appear gold or silver in color and are more visible than porcelain crowns. For some, sporting golden caps is a fashion statement. The boxer Mike Tyson used to proudly sport gold crowns on two of his front teeth.
In general, stainless steel crowns are not used as permanent crowns in adults. Sometimes stainless steel is used to create a temporary crown to protect the damaged tooth while a permanent crown is being made. This material is often used when children need crowns for decaying or damaged baby teeth. The crown protects the baby tooth until the tooth falls out naturally, taking the crown with it.
Constructed from composite material such as acrylic-polymer resin, all-resin crowns have a more natural look to them than metal. Similar to porcelain crowns, resin can be mixed so that the color matches surrounding teeth. These crowns tend to cost less than other materials, but are not as strong as other kinds of crowns.
The longevity of any crown depends not only on the material that it is made from, but also on the amount of care it receives, and the health of the supporting tooth and gums. Regular brushing and flossing is the best ways to prevent decay and gum disease.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of crowning damaged teeth, please call 509-532-1111 for an appointment at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-532-1111