Dental Crowns: What You Need to Know

For those of us who have damaged teeth or teeth that are cracked or broken down, it can be difficult to feel confident. Even our social interactions are hampered, because we may feel quite self-conscious and awkward every time we speak. But it need not be this way – we need not suffer silently and let these dental flaws take over our lives. We can do something about them, especially with help from those who know how to deal with broken, damaged, or cracked teeth.

Thanks to advancements in cosmetic dentistry, we can now benefit from certain procedures that are designed to improve our smiles, not to mention our oral health. One procedure that is undertaken for dental imperfections is the fitting of a dental crown.


What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is simply a tooth-shaped restoration designed to cover an affected tooth and enhance and improve its overall appearance, size, strength, and shape. Crowns cover the entire tooth’s outer surface, and are also known as caps. A dental crown is fitted over the visible surface of the tooth, extending into the gum line and cemented onto the entire structure. This gives it the appearance of a real tooth, although it is technically a synthetic, artificial tooth made from different materials.

Dental crown materials

A dental crown can be made from a wide range of materials, which include porcelain, ceramic, and metals such as gold or palladium, and other combinations of materials (such as porcelain mixed with metal). A permanent crown, for instance, is generally made from metal, ceramic, resin, or porcelain which is fused with metal, or PFM. One unique aspect about crowns is that you can basically choose which type of material you prefer, along with the dentist’s recommendations, of course.

Types of crowns

The types of crowns used depend on the materials – there are crowns made entirely of porcelain, also known as all-porcelain, whilst there are also crowns which are all-ceramic. All-porcelain and all-ceramic crowns are generally recommended for the front teeth and for individuals who are allergic to metal.  The beauty of these types of crowns is that they can easily match the colour of one’s teeth.


On the other hand, there are also porcelain-fused-to-metal, or PFM, crowns, which also give a natural colouring and match well with one’s surrounding teeth. PFM crowns are often used for the front and back teeth. For those with a more adventurous streak, metal crowns are popular for the front teeth, but most individuals prefer them for back teeth or molars. These metal crowns can be made from gold alloy as well as palladium or base metal (such as chromium or nickel) alloys.

There are also crowns made from resin which are easier on the budget but also have the tendency to fracture. In addition, there are temporary and permanent crowns. Temporary crowns are constructed from acrylic or stainless steel and designed by the dentists themselves whilst doing the procedure, whilst permanent crowns are designed by a dental laboratory.

Dental crowns, especially those of good quality, can typically last for a long time – as much as ten to fifteen years. For those of us who would like nothing better than to improve our smiles and protect our teeth at the same time, a dental crown is a good choice.


Image attributed to: Ambro



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