Dental crowns are type of restoration that cover all or most of the visible part of the tooth in the mouth. This is called the crown of the tooth and so this is where this type of dental treatment gets its name. Dental crowns are a way to restore a tooth to strength if it has had a lot of damage in the past. Dental crowns can be used for cosmetic reasons to cover a dark or discoloured tooth that has had damage in the past, or they can be used purely to restore to function a tooth which has no cosmetic problem. Crowns are available in a selection of materials, each of which has different benefits and risks. Your dentist will discuss with you which will be the best crown for your tooth. Dental crowns are often called caps.
Porcelain Crowns and Zirconia Porcelain Crowns
Porcelain crowns are the most cosmetic type of crown. The crown is made entirely of porcelain which is a glassy strong, rigid material. Porcelain can be made to be slightly translucent, so that it reflects light similarly to a natural tooth. Porcelain crowns are available in the full range of colours which teeth naturally occur in. The master technicians we use to custom build your crown will mix a range of these colours to create texture for a natural looking smile. Porcelain crowns are very hard, but that also means they are more brittle. Porcelain crowns are more likely to fracture under high loads than other crowns and due their surface hardness, they can cause wear for other teeth opposite them. Zirconia based porcelain crowns are a higher strength version of porcelain, which reduces the risk of fracture, but at the expense of the translucency. Translucent porcelain can be build up over the zirconia, though, so a great aesthetic result can still be achieved.
Best for: Cosmetic dentistry and high visibility areas
Gold crowns are rarer these days, due to increased aesthetic demands and the improvements made in better looking, more aesthetic materials. However, gold crowns are still the gold standard for strength and longevity. Gold crowns are very unlikely to fracture and cause minimal wear against the opposing tooth. Gold does not look natural, so is usually only used in areas that are not very visible, or in areas with a high fracture risk. Some people do like the appearance of a gold tooth, but that is becoming less common as whiter teeth become the fashion. Gold crowns are not made of pure gold, which would be too weak, but it is a combination of a number of metals, called an alloy.
Best for: Teeth grinding and non visible areas
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns
Porcelain fused to metal crowns offer a compromise between porcelain crowns and gold crowns. They have a metal core on the inside for strength. Porcelain is built up over this to match the colour of the adjacent teeth. Due to the colour of the metal, an opaque white porcelain is used to block it out, with the matching colour then built up over this. The opacity means that the crown is not as glassy as a natural tooth, but can still have a high aesthetic result, depending on the natural colour properties of your teeth. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are made with a variety of metals and usually contain nickel. If you have a nickel sensitivity (such as sensitive to costume jewellery), you should let your dentist know, so that a nickel free alternative can be arranged.
Best for: Good compromise between stength and aesthetics
Do I really need to have a crown? Does root canal treatment mean I need a crown?
A crown will usually be recommended if your tooth has suffered significant damage. When the size of the filling increases, it logically means that the amount of healthy tooth remaining is less. The loss tooth that is there, the weaker it will be. This can cause your tooth to crack or split, sometimes meaning you can end up losing the tooth. Placing a crown minimises this risk. Unfortunately after your tooth has been damaged in any way, your tooth is always going to be weaker than it was.
Root canal treatment, by its nature is damaging to your tooth. Usually a back tooth will need a full coverage restoration, such as a crown, after treatment. A tooth that would benefit from a crown does not necessarily need a root canal treatment, however. Usually, the reason for getting a dental crown is due to significant damage to the tooth, and it should be borne in mind that this same damage can be traumatic to the pulp, necessitating root canal treatment in the future. When a crown is on a tooth, if it needs root canal treatment, the crown will often need to be drilled through, and then replaced. For this reason, sometimes an elective root canal treatment is considered prior to placement of a crown.
How much does a crown cost?
A dental crown usually costs $1490 at Darlinghurst Dental. This is for a standard crown of any of the listed types. For very front teeth, a premium option may be offered if the dentist thinks there will be benefit. This of course would be optional. Remember, there may also be preparatory work needed to get the tooth ready for a crown, depending on its current condition. At Darlinghurst Dental we can always issue a quote before treatment so you should have no unexpected expenses. As with any quote, it can vary if something unexpected needs to be done, but we will always let you know.