Perhaps one of the biggest gifts and innovations that mankind has come across in a long time is that of the dental crown - one of the most effective and all round solutions for multiple kinds of tooth related issues. Adults and children alike are benefitted from the use of dental crown placements on a treated original tooth that helps them support and protect the primary or the permanent tooth.
Dental crowns have emerged as the novel and less painful concept of restructuring and revitalizing the affected tooth/teeth. Though they have been in existence since ancient times, dental crowns underwent a demand surge recently, where they are deployed to cater to people of all ages.
Depending on the requirements and personal choices, different types of dental crowns are manufactured to meet the needs. To make you aware of what each dental crown characterizes, here is an in-depth article explaining about them.
TYPES OF DENTAL CROWNS
Dental crowns come in many different forms and are made from different kinds of restorative materials that offer various benefits based on the requirements of the patients. Adults may have a specific set of preferences and needs while children may have a whole other set of necessities and priorities. Either way, the dental world has come up with some of the most innovative and high tech solutions to this problem using dental restoration materials.
Most of us are familiar with some of the most iconic types of dental crowns which include stainless steel crowns, metal crowns or the more elegant option - ceramic crowns. But what most of us do not know is that there are many other types of crowns other than these that may provide more accessible, economically feasible, sturdier and longer lasting options.
In this blog, we explore 8 different kinds of dental crowns made from different restoration materials that vary in the composition, functionality, cost and appearance. Dentists and patients or caregivers can mutually agree upon any one of the following types to choose the most appropriate crown.
Note: Dental crowns can be easily conceptualized and designed with the help of CAD/CAM and 3D printing technology. This will help dentists and designers curate accurate results while maintaining the diversity in shape, size, preferences, and age factor.
1. STAINLESS STEEL CROWNS
One of the most common crown materials deployed in pediatric dentistry, stainless steel crowns are the ideal choice for primary teeth that require restoration and structure, making way for a permanent tooth. Stainless steel crowns are still being used by many dentists and are one of the preferred kinds of temporary crowns for kids and older adults. Infact in many older patients, these crowns are an incredible choice for patients who have low oral and dental hygiene or low accessibility to oral and dental facilities.
Stainless steel crowns are strong, durable and extremely cost efficient. Their only obvious flaw is their metallic color which may not look so attractive and cause consciousness. But the good news is that they are now also available in more elegant options such as open faced stainless steel crowns or preveneered stainless steel crowns.
Stainless steel crowns are not ideal for those who have known metal allergies or for those who want to avoid metal insertions in their body. Stainless steel crowns are otherwise perfect for everyone else as they are safe and have been in use for over half a century now. The crowns may cause momentary discomfort, but it only signifies that your body is getting used to a new element. In conclusion, stainless steel crowns are an ideal choice for pediatric or temporary restorative dentistry.
2. ES WHITE CROWNS
ES White crowns are preveneered stainless crowns that have been of great advantage to patients who are looking for the functionalities of stainless steel crowns but without the obvious metallic appearance. These crowns are made with durable white resin and have high fracture resistance. The ES white crowns are usually pre-contoured or pre-made crowns consisting of slight occlusal anatomy that can be fixed on the affected teeth without having to undergo high-end modifications, including reduction of the tooth size.
The crown shape itself is akin to a mold for the teeth, covering it from external damages and decay. These are usually used for toddlers, who are in their formative years of dental care and require simpler crowns. They combine the advantages of SSC which is strength, durability, simplicity, reliability and low cost with the added benefit of life-like translucency that mimics real teeth.
3. CERAMIC DENTAL CROWNS
Ceramic crowns are typically made from a hard white clay called "Kaolin" which is a vital part of porcelain. The white color looks pretty much similar to the human teeth making it an ideal choice for a strong and aesthetically-appealing dental crown. Patients who may have metallic allergies or require cosmetically pleasing anterior restorations can choose these crowns as ceramic crowns are highly attunable. Most importantly, its white color blends with the rest of the teeth making it one of the best choices for front teeth restoration in cases of weak tooth, damaged or fractured tooth etc.
Ceramic crowns fall under the category of pressed tooth - it utilized a definitive method and material type of ceramic that can be pressed into the shape of a tooth to match the aesthetics of the teeth row. Ceramic crowns are deprived of a cap and get the required strength from the tooth, acting as an additional layer to the existing affected tooth. But the only downsides to these crowns are the fact that they require higher tooth removal given that they do not have a cap. They also are prone to chipping or fractures and cannot be used for posterior restorations in most cases.
Apart from these facts, ceramic crowns are minimally invasive and can be regarded as a first option if clinically suitable.Many patients opted for ceramic crowns but with newer and better alternatives in the market such as Zirconia crowns, these dental crowns may have taken a backseat.
4. PORCELAIN-FUSED TO METAL DENTAL CROWNS
Another common dental crown that is famously used for posterior restorations, porcelain fused to metal dental crowns have been imperative in repairing the damaged teeth. As the name suggests, Porcelain fused to metal crowns are metal cast crowns coated with porcelain to provide strength along with aesthetics.
Depending on the quality, suitability, and acceptability by the bodies, the metal alloys are selected, upon which the porcelain material is further baked.
These crowns are primarily used during intensive actions like night grinding disease or Bruxism or in cases of long span bridges in patients. The combination of Metal with Porcelain is best known for its sustenance and resistance while staying true to the necessity of appeal. With more and more patients moving to esthetically pleasing options, researchers found the best of both worlds by allowing a metal core to tend to the needs of strength and durability.
The outer shell made with porcelain helped in covering up the metallic inside and helped shade match with the rest of the teeth. Even with the porcelain layer, a small portion of the metal can be detected but only with closer examination, which is hardly the case with posterior teeth. The downside of these crowns are the tendency for the porcelain shell to chip or fracture which requires additional care. The metallic core can appear as a gray lining over time and may not look ideal for those who want a perfect aesthetic appeal.
5. GOLD ALLOY DENTAL CROWNS
Gold crowns are more like a fashion status quo or a classic way to sport a golden grin. The golden metal alloy crowns are still one of the original style additions made by celebrities to showcase something unique and noticeably shiny. Given that gold is a noble metal, it is highly resistant to elements like water or oxygen. This aspect makes them remain unaffected in the form of crowns adding up to the durability and strength. Gold has high tensile strength and can sustain high impact which makes them an ideal choice for posterior restorations.
Gold crowns are a standard in strength and durability but just like any other option, the placement technique and the underlying tooth restoration needs to be on point. If the crown breaks, the underlying tooth decay might be the cause for that. It is a technique sensitive crown and requires upkeep and hygiene. Most of the gold crowns are placed on molars & premolars and can be quite expensive, owing to the cost of the metal.
Patients who are looking for the traditional ‘white smile’ would need to stay away from gold coins as they are highly attractive and noticeable with a yellow streak. They are super expensive and is more of a fashion choice than a medical one.
6. BASE METAL ALLOY DENTAL CROWNS
Base metal alloy dental crowns are made using non noble metal alloys. These crowns contain strong but non-noble elements like nickel, chromium, or beryllium with scattered amounts of silver, palladium or titanium, all of which are known for their strength and durability. These elements provide a silver looking appearance to the crown and can be quite a fashion choice for a patient.
Base metal alloy crowns combine metal with non noble metal alloys and therefore provide significant characteristics such as muted silver appearance, strength, durability, resistance to wear etc. Since they combine non noble metals, they also are lighter on the pocket when compared to other pricey crowns in the market.
Some key benefits of using these crowns are that they have excellent mechanical properties and can be great options for posterior restorations as they do not wear as much. They are also gentle on the opposing teeth which makes them ideal for posterior teeth restorations. They can undergo immense pressure and force.
When the dentist prepares for the procedure with a base metal alloy, the least healthy part of the tooth structure is removed to make the required space. These crowns may take up more tooth space to fit them.
7. ZIRCONIA CROWNS
Zirconia crowns may have single handedly changed the dental world with its revolutionary process of creation, attractive esthetics, impeccable features and its biocompatibility. Zirconia crowns are made from Zirconia oxide blocks that are Yttrium stabilized. The crowns are carved using a CAD/CAM 3D technique to give perfect fit and finish. It also reduces the overall time a patient spends from the treatment to the fitment, which is great for both patients and the dentist.
Zirconia crowns are highly revered for their strength, durability and impeccable biocompatibility. These three features are enough to uphold their virtue as one of the best crowns in the market. An added advantage is their white texture which gives them a porcelain like appearance and therefore contributing to its aesthetic appeal. They are perfect for posterior restorations but can also be used for anterior teeth.
Zirconia crowns are available in assorted shades and can be color matched to suit the enamel of the patient. It can be completely contoured to help with bruxism issues. They can be used for full face restorations but may require higher tooth removal just like ceramic or porcelain crowns. In conclusion, Zirconia satisfies the trifecta of strength, durability, and aesthetics and therefore is a popular choice among patients of all kinds.
8. ALL RESIN CROWNS
All resin crowns are more temporary in nature and can be a good choice for pediatric patients who are looking at a short span until natural exfoliation of the treated tooth. These crowns are made from resin material such as composite resin, acrylic polymer resin or polymethyl methacrylate. These resin crowns do not have a long life span and therefore cannot be used for permanent dental crowns. But their upside is their esthetics as they look very much alike to natural teeth.
For parents who are looking for esthetic anterior restorations in children or temporary restorations until the permanent crowns are done, these resin crowns can be an excellent option. They are easy to use and less expensive dental crowns. Notable disadvantages include being prone to wear and tear and fractures when compared to other crowns and therefore lack in strength and durability.