When a tooth becomes cracked or otherwise damaged, a dental crown (commonly known as a cap) is often used to protect and restore the tooth. In cases where a tooth is completely missing, crowns can be placed over an implant instead. In the past, metal crowns were common for this procedure, but just as fillings have improved over the years to be as inconspicuous as possible, so have crowns. This is the reason why Dr. Zadeh offers the natural and pleasing-looking option of porcelain and ceramic crowns.
Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?
Porcelain and ceramic crowns take the place of a tooth when used with an implant, or to repair and protect a damaged tooth. Cracked teeth, teeth that have undergone a root canal, and dental implants all need to be protected with crowns. Some patients who have staining or darkness in the tooth that is too extensive for veneers may also opt for a crown.
Crowns protect damaged teeth from further harm, breakage, and deterioration by protecting the remainder of the tooth and restoring the tooth to its original beauty. For implants, the crown simply serves as an aesthetically pleasing replacement for the missing tooth and provides balance to the smile.
The most common uses are:
- Restoring your tooth or teeth after root canal therapy
- Preparing for a bridge fitting
- Dental Implants
- Augmenting partial dentures
- Restoring broken, cracked, severely discolored, or worn teeth
- Extensive discoloration too severe for veneers or bleaching
How Are Crowns Placed On My Teeth?
Dr. Zadeh will take impressions of your teeth to create a temporary and permanent crown. Next, he will prepare your tooth or teeth by sanding down the enamel to a good bonding surface for the cap(s). Dr. Zadeh will then place a temporary crown around the tooth or implant while your permanent crown is being completed in his dental lab. If there is no tooth, or the tooth is broken beyond repair and required extraction, he will place and implant before setting your crown.
Once your permanent dental crown is completed, Dr. Zadeh will set up another appointment, make adjustments, and set your crown with dental cement. During this process, he will make sure that it sits perfectly, feels comfortable, and is secure in your mouth. As crowns are constructed outside of your mouth, they are fit more precisely than other restorative appliances like onlays and fillings. Adaptions can also be made to ensure that the crown seals perfectly. This allows the new crown to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth, replacing any missing or damaged tooth structure.
In the past, crowns required a significant part of the tooth to be ground or sheared away to allow the crown to sit properly and match the tooth. This has become progressively less common and minimal preparation is required now for crowns. Often, a very small amount of your tooth will be refined to allow your crown to set. Dr. Zadeh will attempt the most conservative treatment to protect as much of the healthy tooth as possible.
Porcelain crowns can last from ten to fifteen years with proper care and are an extremely convenient way of preserving your teeth. Smoking and/or not regularly cleaning your teeth can stain the porcelain, so good dental hygiene and regular dentist cleanings are a necessity to keep your crown looking its best. Some people may never need to replace their crowns, and while there are no guarantees that your crown will last forever, the high standards of quality that Dr. Zadeh holds will ensure it will last for years to come. Sometimes, a crown can last you the rest of your natural life.
Other Types of Crowns
Sometimes, Dr. Zadeh chooses to use ceramic crowns for both aesthetic and medical reasons. All-ceramic crowns offer the most natural-looking tooth substitute available today. This is the best choice for front teeth, as the ceramic will best blend in with your remaining front teeth.
For this reason, Dr. Zadeh tends to recommend the stronger porcelain crowns for back teeth, and the more natural-looking ceramic crowns for front teeth. This mix-and-matching process is not unlike those of veneers, and it will not be uncommon for your crowns, especially if you require multiple, to be made of slightly different materials between crowns. This allows the doctor exacting control over the aesthetic qualities and give you the most natural appearance possible.
Gold alloy crowns are still common, but are not used as often due to their high cost and the disruption they cause to your appearance. Gold and its alloys were favored for their sturdy nature, but they have been supplanted by the affordable porcelain and ceramic crowns.
Zirconia crowns are becoming more common as the technology used to create them improves and becomes more affordable. They also have some benefits regarding hot and cold, over traditional crowns — as the material used to create them is not as conductive. Eventually, they will likely supplant other ceramics for their versatility, aesthetic, and hardiness. In fact, we make some of our crowns out of zirconia right here in our office in Beverly Hills!
You can view before-and-after photos of porcelain crowns (caps) in our photo gallery.