A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a natural tooth or on top of a dental implant. Crowns cover a tooth down to the gumline, and are generally used to restore a broken-down tooth or replace a missing tooth. They can also be used for cosmetic purposes to change the length, shape or color of a tooth to make it more aesthetic.
As a prosthodontist, Dr. Bhave is a dental specialist in the aesthetic and functional restoration of teeth and the replacement of missing teeth. She is an expert at designing and placing crowns that are durable, aesthetic and function like natural teeth. She makes sure the crown fits comfortably and aligns properly with the rest of your bite.
Benefits of Our Dental Crowns
Dr. Bhave works closely with a high-tech lab that makes crowns out of a variety of high-quality materials and fabricates them according to her exact specifications. She chooses the material for each crown based on what will work best for your situation. Regardless of the materials used, crowns visible in your smile will look aesthetic and will blend well with your other teeth.
For teeth in the front of your smile, she mostly uses a high-quality porcelain that has the translucence of natural teeth. If extra strength is needed, she can use a very durable and aesthetic ceramic that can withstand strong bite forces. Crowns for rear teeth are usually made out of porcelain fused to a metal core. She also provides the option of gold crowns for rear teeth.
Dental Crowns Procedure Details
Dr. Bhave gently removes just enough tooth structure so the crown will fit over it. She then takes an impression of the teeth and bite for the lab to use in fabricating the crown. Dr. Bhave uses the highest quality impression material available to make sure the impression is very accurate and has no distortions.
She creates and places an aesthetic and lifelike temporary crown for you to wear while the permanent crown is being made. Sometimes, she will take an impression of the temporary crown as it sits in your smile for the lab to use in designing the final.
The lab creates the final crown according to Dr. Bhave’s instructions. When your crown comes back from the lab, Dr. Bhave will make any adjustments necessary to ensure it fits comfortably, matches the rest of your teeth and aligns properly in your bite. She will then permanently bond it into place, using the best cement on the market so that the crown will be firmly attached to the tooth.
Inlays and Onlays – “Partial Coverage” Crowns
For damage to a tooth that is too extensive for a filling but does not require a full crown, Dr. Bhave can place “partial coverage” restorations. When the restoration is made to fit in the grooves between the cusps (highest points) of the tooth, it is known as an inlay. A restoration that fits over one or more of the cusps is called an onlay.
Dr. Bhave can fabricate these out of the same high-quality porcelains she uses for full crowns. She also offers the option of making them out of gold. Dr. Bhave will explain the pros and cons of each option to you so that you can make an informed choice.
What Crowns Are Used For?
Crowns are mainly used for the following purposes:
- To protect and repair a damaged or decayed tooth
- To cover and protect a tooth from future fracture after root canal therapy
- To cosmetically correct a discolored or misshapen tooth (in situations where a veneer is not recommended)
- To correct bite misalignment
- To be the replacement tooth that is secured onto a dental implant
Dental Crowns FAQs
What are the benefits of a dental crown?
Dental crowns are a popular solution for teeth that are cracked, chipped, decayed, misaligned or simply unattractive. All flaws disappear under the crown, a strong protective cover that is bonded to the existing tooth to improve appearance and preserve function. Crowns are customized to perfectly match the size and color of your tooth.
The crown can stabilize a weak tooth, cloak discoloration and flaws, and even be used to anchor a dental bridge. During its expected lifespan of five to 15 years, the crown protects the health and integrity of the tooth within, while adding beauty to your smile.
Your new crown will be strong and aesthetically pleasing, and will create a tight seal that will block bacteria from entering the tooth and causing future problems. The material also mimics all the characteristics of your teeth: It feels completely natural and won’t grind down opposing teeth.
What are my choices in dental crowns?
Depending on the condition of the tooth, experienced San Jose, Los Gatos and Campbell dentist Dr. Bhave of Bay Area Dental Specialists may recommend a porcelain crown as the option that provides the most natural-looking new surface. The porcelain-fused-to-metal variety provides additional strength, but may create a dark line at the gum line.
Ceramic crowns are a common choice for front teeth, while resin crowns tend to be less expensive but also wear down more quickly. Metal crowns have the advantage of putting less stress on opposing teeth, and are unlikely to crack. Some patients choose this type of crown for molars.
Will I need crowns for a dental bridge?
Crowns are a popular way to anchor a dental bridge securely in your mouth, although some patients choose the option of attaching a bridge to dental implants. Because dental implants require surgical implantation in the jaw bone, crowns are often chosen as a lower-cost alternative that can be completed in days, rather than months.
A dental bridge covers one or more of the gaps in your mouth, and will include one or more false teeth. Options include conventional fixed, cantilever or resin-bonded bridges. With cantilever and conventional bridges, adjacent teeth require reshaping to accommodate the crowns that will be necessary to secure a bridge. Resin-bonded bridges are often appropriate for missing front teeth, and do not require extensive reshaping of surrounding teeth. Bridges are available in a wide range of material choices, including porcelain and metal, various resilient composites, alumina and even zirconia, which, not surprisingly, provides diamond-like strength.
When a bridge will be anchored to existing teeth, Dr. Bhave will prepare crowns that will be attached to teeth on either end of the bridge. The health of these teeth, as well as your gums, is an important consideration. Any issues of decay or periodontal disease must first be resolved before attachment of a dental bridge.