Crowns, also known as caps, could be an affordable dental choice for restoring chipped, cracked or otherwise worn-down teeth. This procedure cups a damaged tooth with an artificial covering. It may save your worn-out tooth and prove more convenient than filling a gap with a prosthetic bridge or implant.
While a filling can only cover a portion of a tooth, a crown can cover the whole thing. Crowns are necessary in the following situations:
- If a large portion of decayed matter has been drilled out and filled, and remaining enamel is too weak to support biting or chewing.
- If a cracked or worn-down tooth is about to fall apart.
- If support is needed for a partial or bridge.
A cheap dentist often follows 5 major steps to install a crown:
- Numbing of the area.
- Trimming off of about 25% of the original tooth.
- Creating an impression to send to a lab (for permanent crowns) or to use in-office (for temporary crowns.)
- Placement to ensure proper fit.
- Cementing into the mouth.
Dentists can form crowns out of several different materials.
Temporary (made in-office):
Permanent (created by a lab):
- Resins– These materials are often affordable, but they tend to fracture and wear down easily.
- Porcelains – These materials provide the closest, most natural color match to existing teeth. People with metal allergies and/or those who need caps for their front incisors may lean toward this option. Porcelain is not as durable as other materials, so the layer applied must be relatively thick, and more of the original tooth structure must be removed. These types of caps also may wear down nearby teeth.
- Metal – Gold alloy or base metal alloys offer the greatest durability and the least amount of wear to adjacent teeth. While a metal cap only requires a thin layer, the color does not blend well with the rest of the teeth. Many patients, however, prefer to use this material for a more affordable restoration of back molars.
- Combinations – These types of crowns are formed of a porcelain layer fused to a metal structure. While the porcelain layer can erode adjacent enamel, the metal structure adds sturdiness to the crowned tooth. Traces of the underlying metal may show through, however, especially if the patient has a receding gum line.
Rather than extracting and fully replacing a problem tooth, many people find capping a much more affordable dental option. Your dentist can determine whether or not a crown is right for you, and can advise you on which material will suit your mouth best.