A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is attached onto a tooth in order to restore its shape and size, strengthen, and improve its appearance. The crowns will be cemented to cover the entire visible part of the tooth above the gum line.
Permanent crowns can be made from many materials -- all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, other alloys (for example, palladium), or a base-metal alloy (for example, nickel or chromium).
Compared with other crown types, it requires less tooth structure to be removed, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns are able to tolerate biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of attrition. Also, metal crowns rarely crack or break. The only drawback is the metallic color. Metal crowns are a good alternative for out-of-sight molars.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be matched to the color of your surrounding teeth (unlike the metallic crowns).
However, more wearing to the opposing teeth happens to this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown's porcelain portion can also crack or break. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth, next to all-ceramic crowns. However, sometimes the metal that lies underneath the crown can be seen as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. This type of crown is recommended for front or back teeth.
All-resin dental crowns are cheaper than other crown types.
However, they gradually wear down and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural match color than other crown types and they are more suitable for people who are allergic to metals.
However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and cause wear of opposing tooth more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are good used for front teeth.
Costs of crowns can vary depending on the materials used (for example, porcelain crowns are normally more expensive than gold crowns and also porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns). Generally, the cost range for crowns is from $280 to $550 or more per crown.
On average, dental crowns can last 5-15 years. The life span of a crown usually depends on the amount of "wear and tear" the crown is exposed to and the patient's dental hygiene and habits. (You should avoid doing these habits such as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting your fingernails, and using your teeth to open packages).
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