Dental crowns are excellent tools that can be used to restore the functionality, color, and shape of damaged teeth. These tools are often used to cap a tooth that has been damaged by decay or that has undergone a root canal. A crown could also be used to support a tooth with a large filling or to cover a tooth that is at risk of breaking after being restored with composite resins in the past. If you are considering getting a dental crown, read on for answers to two common questions about these dental appliances. 

What types of crowns are available?

Dentists can choose to make your crown out of different materials depending on your needs. If your molars are worn out, a metal crown will often be preferred, as it is typically very durable and can withstand strong chewing and biting forces.

Metal crowns are often made of a base metal alloy consisting of gold, nickel, or chromium. A huge advantage of metal crowns is that they rarely chip or crack, and tooth wear to adjacent teeth is usually minimal. However, the color of metal can be unsightly, which is why they are often used on out-of-sight teeth. 

To cap front teeth, dentists usually prefer all-resin crowns, which can match the color of your natural teeth. These crowns are, however, more prone to chipping or cracking and may need to be replaced sooner than their metal counterparts. 

Temporary dental crowns are also available, but they are primarily used to cap a tooth before a permanent crown can be attached. These crowns are often made of acrylic and are held in place with temporary dental cement.

To prevent the temporary crown from getting damaged before it is replaced, avoid eating hard or sticky foods that can potentially dislodge or pull off the dental appliance. You should also shift the bulk of chewing away from the temporarily restored tooth to help prevent chipping or breaking. 

What procedure is involved in fitting a dental crown?

Once your dentist has decided on the type of crown to use, he will usually numb the damaged tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Next the tooth will likely be filed down along the cusps and sides to make enough room for the crown. If there is any extensive decay in the roots, a root canal may need to be performed before your tooth is restored. Teeth that are severely worn down may also be built up using filling material so as to properly support the crown.

Finally, your dentist will make an impression of your tooth and choose a shade that matches your natural teeth. A temporary crown will then be fitted until you can receive a permanent one on your next dental visit.