Choosing a Dental Crown
Dental crowns are often referred to as caps, as they are placed on top of a tooth as restoration and protection. Teeth that have been severely damaged or decayed, and especially those treated with endodontics or an implant often require a crown to protect what remains of the vulnerable tooth. Without a crown, the tooth is left susceptible to breakage. A vulnerable tooth cannot often perform biting or chewing duties, and a crown can restore those functions. Crowns can be made up of different materials like porcelain, zirconia, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. Your dentist will help you choose the best crown for you depending on your situation and your needs.
Porcelain is a material very similar to teeth. The porcelain can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth. Because it has an appearance that closely resembles a natural tooth, crowns made of porcelain are often used in the front of the mouth. There are more durable options than porcelain, which is why purely porcelain crowns are not as common for restoring teeth in the back of the mouth.
PFM crowns combine the durability of metal with the natural appearance of porcelain. A veneer of porcelain is applied to a metal crown to all parts where the crown is visible. Like with a purely porcelain crown, the porcelain can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth. The metal part provides strength for biting and chewing. The metal material is often an alloy made up of both precious metals and base metals.
The use of zirconia is relatively new to dentistry. The material is the strongest ceramic available for dental crowns. It is usually not combined with porcelain or any other material because it is strong enough on its own. Depending on the location of where in your mouth the crown is needed, zirconia may be a worthwhile option for you.