What are Dental Crowns?

A natural dental crown (your original tooth) is made of white enamel on the outside and yellow dentin supporting the enamel beneath it. An artificial dental crown sometimes called a “cap”, replaces missing or damaged natural tooth structure with tooth-colored materials like porcelain and/or metals such as gold.


Do I need a Dental Crown?

When a natural dental crown is severely damaged or weakened by decay, fracture, large fillings or root canal therapy it needs the strength and protection of a dental crown. A weakened or damaged tooth that lacks a strong foundation and the protection of a strong dental crown may break in a way that renders it non-restorable and the tooth will have to be extracted. Dental crowns are used to cover and protect teeth from breaking as a post root canal treatment when there isn’t enough natural dental crown structure left to hold a filling or make the tooth strong enough. A dental crown can also hold together a cracked tooth or support and strengthen a natural dental crown that is part of a dental bridge. Dental crowns help preserve the natural function and position of the teeth. Dental crowns can also serve a combined cosmetic and restorative purpose when they cover dental implants or correct problems with tooth size, color and shape.

Types of Dental Crowns

There are three basic types of dental crowns:
(1) All porcelain crowns
(2) Porcelain fused to metal (e.g. gold) dental crowns and
(3) all metal dental crowns. The all porcelain crowns and porcelain fused to metal (PFM) dental crowns are tooth colored crowns. PFM dental crowns offer the best combination of aesthetics and durability. PFM dental crowns are usually used to restore back teeth where the forces of chewing and grinding are strongest. All porcelain crowns are the most aesthetic and are used primarily used for front teeth where the need for strength is not as critical. Gold dental crowns are the most durable and offer the most precise fit. While it is possible to chip porcelain crowns, gold dental crowns provide no such possibility. Where a tooth colored dental crown is not a priority the gold dental crown is an excellent choice.

Design and Placement of Dental Crowns

The design and placement of your new dental crown is typically accomplished within 2-3 weeks by a few steps:

First, your tooth is prepared for the crown. Based on her many years of experience Dr. Albright will carefully remove the damaged and weakened areas of your natural dental crown then strengthen its core with build up materials. She will then meticulously reshape your natural dental crown to receive your new dental crown and take an impression of the tooth. Once you approve of the color selected for your new dental crown Dr. Albright will design your dental crown and send it to our East Bay dental crown professional laboratory for fabrication. Fabrication of a dental crown typically takes two to three weeks. However, because our office and dental laboratory are local, East Bay – Oakland and Berkeley, our porcelain crowns are sometimes finished sooner. During this time Dr. Albright will protect your tooth with a temporary tooth colored acrylic dental crown.

Secondly, once your dental crown is finished and before your appointment for placement, Dr. Albright will perform her first quality assurance check. Dr. Albright will evaluate your new dental crown in her East Bay, (Oakland / Berkeley border) office to ensure that it meets her custom design specifications. She will also evaluate the craftsmanship with which your dental crown was made. If any problems are discovered they will be corrected. Once new dental crown passes this first quality assurance check your new dental crown will await your placement appointment.

Finally, during your placement appointment Dr. Albright will perform her second quality assurance check. She will evaluate the accuracy of fit, functional compatibility and color match with the surrounding teeth. Adjustments, if necessary, will be made and your dental crown will be polished. Once this has been completed to Dr. Albrights’ professional satisfaction you will evaluate the fit, feel and appearance of your new dental crown. If you want changes made we will make them. Once you approve of your new dental crown Dr. Albright will then cement your new dental crown onto your natural tooth.

Care for Dental Crowns

Dental crowns require the same regular and consistent home and professional dental care, as your natural teeth to prevent decay at the tooth-dental crown junction. The evaluation of metal and tooth-colored dental crowns in our East Bay (Oakland / Berkeley border) office is a regular part of your periodic check-ups.

Make an appointment for your checkup today.

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