If you have a badly broken, damaged, or infected tooth, our dentist may recommend having a dental crown placed. A crown or tooth-shaped ”cap” is a fixed prosthetic cemented onto a tooth to restore its natural appearance, form and function, as well as strengthen the tooth. Dental crowns cover a tooth’s entire visible surface, and when treatment is completed, the new crown will look like your surrounding teeth.
When Crowns Are Used
While dental veneers are used to correct small chips or cracks in the teeth and a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth, dental crowns are used for restoring teeth with severe decay or a dental filling that is compromised and no longer protects the tooth.
Crowns are also placed after endodontic treatment (a root canal) or to secure a dental bridge restoration by anchoring the adjacent natural teeth. When a dental crown is used after a root canal, it gives extra support to the tooth and lessens the risk of needing retreatment. There are various types of dental crown materials. Depending on your needs and desires, we may recommend crowns made from the following materials:
PFM CROWNS are best for severely decayed or injured teeth that endure high amounts of stress. Standing for ”Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal,” a PFM crown is white, strong and durable. This strength comes from a thin precious metal covering which is designed to fit over the tooth. Porcelain is fused to that metal shell in a high-heat furnace, and the porcelain is matched in color to look just like your remaining natural teeth. For maximum strength, the white gold metal layer can even be made to include part of the biting surface. Typical PFM benefits are strength, longevity and good esthetics.
METAL-FREE APC CROWNS are made entirely of quality dental porcelain. These crowns are custom-made in shape and color to your existing teeth, making them ideal for teeth in highly visible areas, such as the front teeth. APC stands for ”All-Porcelain Crown.” These crowns are ideal for optimal esthetics, and for patients with a metal allergy. Our lab, Hockel Dental Lab, fabricates APCs for our patients. Typical APC benefits are the best esthetics.
GOLD CROWNS have become a lost art in many offices, but they are still an option for those who desire quality in areas of the mouth that won’t be a cosmetic concern. Dr. Hockel is a master, both as a technician and as a doctor, of gold tooth restorations. His brother Steve makes all our gold crowns on-site. Typical benefits of gold restorations are the preservation of tooth structure, longevity, and wear compatibility.
The Making of Your Crown – Hockel Dental Lab
Making a dental crown requires two visits. At the first visit, the tooth will need to be shaped so the crown will fit correctly, and then an impression will be made of the prepared tooth. A temporary crown is put in place so that you will be able to bite and have a natural appearance while your crown is being made in the lab. We are very fortunate to have a full-service onsite lab, Hockel Dental Lab, run by Dr. Hockel’s brother Steve Hockel, who is a perfectionist just like Dr. Hockel! The two brothers work together to create top-notch hand-crafted crowns and bridges for the benefit of our patients. When your dental crown is ready, at your followup visit, the temporary crown will be removed and your new crown will be cemented onto the affected tooth.
Caring for Your Crown
Since your crown is created to blend into your smile naturally, people around you will likely not even notice you have had a restoration placed. Be sure to take good care of your crown by practicing consistent, daily oral hygiene habits; brushing and flossing twice a day along with regular professional dental cleanings and checkups can keep your teeth (particularly the back molars) healthy and strong so your crown can last many, many years.
If you would like to investigate if a crown is right for you, and what type of crown we would recommend in your situation, please give us a call and schedule a consultation with one of our doctors here at Life Dental & Orthodontics. We are happy to help you and your smile today!