Dental Crowns

Dental crowns, commonly called caps, are restorations of the entire perimeter or natural crown of a tooth. They are often required when a tooth has too much structure missing due to decay or fracture to support a filling.. In addition, dental crowns may be recommended as a preventive measure to preserve a tooth with large and suspect fillings before they break down. This can avoid pain, inconvenience, further expenses or even tooth loss that can occur when patients or their dentist wait for trouble with suspect teeth.

Permanent crowns are indirect restorations meaning they are fabricated on models by a dental laboratory technician from impressions the dentist takes after preparation. A temporary crown is made and placed at the preparation appointment and the permanent restoration placed at a subsequent date, usually a couple of weeks later.

Modern dental materials used to make crowns are usually various grades of porcelain which ultimately mimic the beauty and wear characteristics of natural tooth structure. Often for back teeth, a metal substructure is used as a base for the porcelain. It is important this metal be made of hypo allergenic alloys, usually containing gold, palladium, platinum and other precious metals so not to cause reaction by the gums. Many dentist and their labs use inferior, yet ADA approved alloys which have a high incidence of allergic response because they are cheaper. In fact, unless a dentist is using a reputable lab and prescribes the proper material be used, dental lab work can be farmed out to foreign countries where cheaper labor and even less restrictions on materials is employed making for poor quality control of the restorations. Dental crowns can cost 5 times as much when proper material and a high quality lab is used, so it is incising for many dentists to be price conscious in choosing labs. Therefor, it is not improper for the patient to ask where their crown has been made and of what materials. My labs provide a certificate of content when metal is used and I often prescribe all porcelain crowns.

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