The purpose of a dental crown:
Dental crowns may be used to restore a tooth’s function, shape, color, and beauty. Cavities, trauma, clenching, grinding, and large silver fillings often result in broken, chipped, discolored or cracked teeth. A dental crown or porcelain veneer is often a strong and durable solution. At Roman Dental, Dr. Kotlarek provides patients, in West Houston, “The Petroleum Corridor”, Memorial City, Town and Country and the Katy, Texas area, with beautiful porcelain crowns, dental bridges and porcelain veneers.
A dental crown (cap) restores a tooth’s strength, prevents fracture, and fortifies teeth that have had root canal treatment. Crowns may reduce tooth sensitivity and can be used to improve the appearance of teeth. Crowns, in conjunction with dental implants and bridges are used to replace teeth and close gaps left by missing teeth. Metal-free crowns are hard to detect and used in cosmetic dentistry as part of a smile makeover.
Crowns can be made of different materials; choosing the “right” material will create the naturally beautiful smile that we all want and deserve.
All- Ceramic crowns
Ceramic crowns are made entirely of tooth-colored material. There are many brand names (Lava, Procera, Ivoclar Empress, E-max, Belle Glass, BruxZir) and different materials, (zirconia, lithium disilicate, and feldspathic porcelain) used to make all-ceramic crowns. These crowns are made of beautiful tooth-colored porcelain that is amazingly natural-looking. Unlike porcelain fused to metal crowns, light can travel through these crowns, making them look natural in both indoor and outdoor lighting. All-ceramic crowns are the best choice when appearance and gum health are primary concerns. Another benefit, all ceramic crowns do not require as much tooth structure removal, this maintains the tooth’s inherent strength.
Visit our Smile Makeover Gallery to see results enjoyed in the Houston, Texas area with all-porcelain crowns.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are strong and durable. Tooth-colored porcelain is layered on top of a thin coating of metal; this layer of porcelain hides the metal that lies beneath. Different metals, (non-precious nickel / chrome, titanium or gold alloys) can be used under the porcelain. Some patients can experience metal allergy and gum inflammation with non-precious metal crowns. The non-precious metal is gray in color and may create darkness where the gum and crown meet. These crowns tend to be very “bright” due to the opaque porcelain used to hide the color of the underlying metal.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are strong but are not the most aesthetic, they can have a “headlight effect” when used on the front teeth.
Full metal crowns
Full metal crowns are strong, thin and durable. Full gold crowns have a few benefits; they require minimal tooth structure removal, provide superior gum health, are non-abrasive, are recurrent decay resistant, are long-lasting and rarely create post-operative sensitivity. These crowns can be an excellent option in areas of the mouth where strength and longevity are the primary concern.
At Roman Dental, Dr. Kotlarek uses the finest materials crafted by certified dental ceramists. Entrusted to the hands of talented technicians, fine materials combine to create a healthy, natural looking, spectacular smile. View the results in our smile gallery.
Frequently asked Questions
Crowns, Caps, Bridges
What is a crown?
A crown is a dental restoration that wraps around or “caps” a tooth which is in need of repair.
Why Do I need a crown?
When a tooth is badly decayed, chipped, poorly shaped or positioned a dental crown may be the best option to predictably restore the tooth’s strength, function, and beauty.
Can my tooth be repaired with a filling instead of a crown?
Generally, a filling is the first choice to repair a sensitive, chipped or decayed tooth. However, a large filling may further weaken a tooth, causing the tooth to crack. Unfortunately, tooth removal (extraction) is often the only option after a tooth has cracked at or beneath the gum level. Dentists, through training and experience, evaluate the condition of a tooth and recommend treatment, possibly a crown, so that the dental repair will maintain the tooth’s integrity throughout the patient’s lifetime. By design, crowns strengthen teeth. Crowns often save teeth that would otherwise require eventual root canal treatment or extraction.
I had root canal treatment why do I now need a crown?
Root canal therapy eliminates nervous tissue, blood, and lymphatic flow through a tooth. Blood flow nourishes and keeps tooth structure strong and resilient. A tooth without blood flow, like a tree without water, will become weak. Crown placement will strengthen the” root canaled” tooth.
Why did my “crowned tooth” turn gray (black) at the gum line?
Crowns often are made in layers, an outside layer (white porcelain) and an inner layer (gray metal core). The crown is often very thin at the gum level and the gray peeks through the thin layer of porcelain. This gray color is initially hidden under a crevice (periodontal pocket) that exists around all teeth. If the gum tissue recedes down the tooth root, the thin edge of the crown is revealed. This exposure may reveal an unsightly blue or gray color at the gum level.
Can the black line around my crown be repaired?
Yes, the black line at the edge of your crown can be eliminated. Typically the crown is replaced and the discoloration vanishes. If the gum line darkness is the result of a discolored tooth root rather than a discolored crown, other treatments will be needed.
Can I prevent a black line from forming around the crown on my front tooth?
Yes, a crown can be made with a white (tooth colored) inner layer. If the gum recedes, the exposed edge will be less visible because of the inner layer’s natural coloration.
Why was a gold crown recommended?
Gold (metal) crowns can be made very thin without any risk of the breakage. Porcelain (tooth colored) crowns conversely require a minimum thickness in order to develop strength and resistance to fracture. This issue of thickness is significant. The crown thickness is the minimum dimension that must be drilled away from the natural tooth in order for it to return to its original size, following crown placement. Some types of all- ceramic and porcelain fused to metal crowns require three times as much tooth reduction versus a full gold crown. If the tooth to be crowned has limited height, (the distance from the gum line to the top of the tooth) placement of a metal crown leaves behind more tooth structure. Increasing the amount of remaining tooth structure makes the tooth less likely to require root canal therapy and lessens the chance of a crown becoming loose. Additionally, metal crowns may be suggested because they are non-abrasive and will not wear away the natural teeth they may touch during chewing.
I have a new crown that is very sensitive is something wrong?
Sensitivity following crown placement is not uncommon. Sensitivity occurs because deep cavities, unrecognized fractures, and irritation from dental materials and treatments cause the soft tissue that lies within the center of a tooth to become swollen. In cases of severe, lingering, thermal, pressure or spontaneous pain, treatment of the root canal system may be required. Typically, sensitivity will naturally diminish in 1-4 days following crown placement. Occasionally, sensitivity gradually resolves over many months.
If sensitivity worsens or does not improve, return to the dentist for follow-up evaluation and care. Often, an adjustment of the bite will reduce the sensitivity.
I need a gold crown because my tooth is short. is there a tooth- colored option?
Yes, a very thin crown that is colored like a natural tooth is now available. The crown is made of a material called Zirconia. Brux-zir is a popular brand name for this type of zirconia crown. Brux-zir crowns can be very thin yet strong and resistant to breaking.