How do you tell when a tooth needs a crown? A dental crown is needed when a tooth is badly broken down - either a cusp has broken off, or there are large old fillings or a large portion of tooth decay. A filling is used to fill a small portion - a crown when the it has extensive damage. Our web site has some information to help you decide which type to get.

 

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What type of crown does your tooth need?

The strongest dental crowns have some type of metal in them. An all-metal crown is usually made of gold because of it's resistance to corrosion and it's excellent fit. There are cheaper metals, though, which can reduce the fee maybe ten to twenty percent.

 

The least expensive are made of stainless steel. They are usually factory-made and then crimped to fit the tooth. This is usually the type of crown that is put on a baby tooth, because, while it doesn't last as long as a precision-fit one, since it is factory-made rather than custom-made, it is a fraction of the cost.

 

Another type is porcelain-fused to metal. It has a metal core, and has porcelain baked on the outside.

 

A third basic category is an all-porcelain crown.

 

Something a little bit different are porcelain onlays. While porcelain onlays cover the chewing surface of the tooth, they don't go all the way to the gumline as crowns do, so less of the tooth has to be ground away, and there isn't any chance that they will irritate the gum.

 

When you have a crown on a front tooth, a cosmetic dentist will recommend an all-porcelain crown. General dentists generally feel more comfortable doing porcelain fused to metal in these situations.

 

There is also a CEREC crown technology for making one of these restorations by computer. A CAD-CAM device mills a block of very tough porcelain while you wait in the chair, meaning that you can get your crown in the same appointment that your tooth is prepared. Otherwise, two appointments are required.

 

Some people have been told by their dentists that they have soft teeth and that is why they need crowns. They say this because the person gets a lot of decay, but this isn't from soft teeth.

 

Some metals used in these restorations can provoke metal allergy.

By Dr. David Hall

Written by a cosmetic dentist!

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