Cosmetic dentistry is, as the name implies, a group of procedures designed to improve the look of your smile. As with all procedures, there are benefits and risks, and it is important to discuss each procedure, cost, and maintenance with our staff. You are responsible for consulting your insurance company regarding coverage of cosmetic procedures.
A dental crown may be used for a variety of dental situations. Crowns may be used to protect a tooth that is weakened by decay; to restore a broken or worn tooth; to provide support when decay or breakage has left very little of the natural tooth in place; to support a dental bridge; to cover a tooth that is irregular in shape or extremely discolored; to cover a dental implant; or for other dental cosmetic reasons.
Crowns may be made of stainless steel, a variety of metal alloys, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all porcelain. The decision for choosing the composition of the crown is dependent upon the reason for use and the recommendation of your dentist.
Stainless steel crowns are generally used as a temporary crown while the permanent crown is being created. Metal alloys last the longest and wear the least over time, but they do not match the tooth color, which can detract from the patient’s appearance.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns is made to match the adjacent teeth in color and look like natural teeth. The disadvantage is the possibility of metal showing through with wear or the underlying metal showing at the gum line.
All resin crowns are generally less expensive, but are the least durable of all of the crown options.
Ceramic or porcelain crowns have the most natural looking appearance in terms of color and overall look. They are not as strong as porcelain fused to metal, but the appearance factor makes them a very good option for front teeth.
At least two office visits are required to apply a crown. At the first visit, the tooth is prepared by shaping it so that the crown fits over the tooth without crowding the adjacent teeth. The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth that will be used to fabricate the permanent crown from the chosen material. This impression is sent to lab where the crown will be made. A temporary crown of stainless steel or acrylic will be applied to protect the tooth until the permanent crown is ready.
The next visit involves the dentist removing the temporary crown, check the fit of the new crown, and permanently cement the new crown in place. Local anesthetic is used if necessary.
Dental crowns generally last five to fifteen years. This depends on the individual’s oral hygiene, and any tendency to grind the teeth or engage in other habits that may cause wear and tear.