Patients often ask us the difference between a dental crown and a dental cap. The two terms are used interchangeably. A dental cap or crown is an outside shell covering for a tooth that is either damaged or weak. Crowns can also be attached to restore a dental implant.
When do You Need a Dental Crown?
We may recommend that you get a crown if your tooth needs a large filling that would leave the remaining tooth too weak to withstand biting into or chewing food. Also we would recommend a crown if there were fractures or cracks in a tooth. Crowns are used as a preventive measure to protect teeth that have been worn down from grinding or that are at an increased risk of decay. A dental crown might also be used as a cosmetic device if you have a tooth that has been badly stained or chipped.
Same Day Dentistry: Dental Crown Procedure
The procedure for preparing your tooth for a dental crown can usually be done in one visit. At Padden Dental we incorporate the technology called “Cerec single-visit crowns”, which allows us to fabricate your crown in the office while you wait (in most cases). You then can have the crown cemented and leave with it that day. During your visit the Dentist will examine your tooth and jaw. X-rays are taken so that we can see the tooth root structure and the amount of gum tissue and bone available to support the crown. We will get you numb in the area so that you don’t feel anything. After the tooth that is shaped to a specific design we then use a special camera to take high resolution images of the prepared tooth. This information is sent it to our milling unit in the office to process the crown out of a solid block of porcelain.
Occasionally, if there’s not enough room in the area or if the tooth does not have enough height, sometimes will involve the two step lab procedure for a crown. With this technique the first visit we shape the tooth and taking either an impression or camera images with the Cerec camera. We will then send that information to an outside lab for fabrication. They will take a couple weeks to fabricate your new crown. In the meantime you will wear a temporary crown on the tooth until your new one is available. The second visit your temporary is removed and the tooth is cleaned. We will then use some cement to bond your crown to your tooth. After some checking and fine-tuning of the bite you can enjoy your new crown.
Technology has changed what materials are used for dental crowns
Thanks to modern technology the preferred material for dental crowns is the ceramic metal free crown. Historically, metal or gold crowns were used due to their strength and fit. However, a downside to metal crowns is they were unsightly because they had gold color or contained metal that showed through the porcelain. Patients would see a dark or black line at the base of their crowns. This unsightly black line was difficult to mask for front teeth. But with today’s technology, with our all ceramic metal free crowns, this black line problem is eliminated.
”The procedure for preparing your tooth for a dental crown can usually be done in one visit.”
Technology has also improved the strength of the all ceramic metal free crown. Porcelain fractures that we used to see in years past don’t often occur with the type of crowns we use at Padden Dental. Our office has great confidence in the crown materials that we use for dental crowns. If we are using our Cerec “single visit” technology, the material of choice is called EMax. If we occasionally need to send out to a Dental Laboratory for fabrication we will use a material called Zirconia. Either the Emax or Zirconia ceramics have a great track record and will provide you with a great crown with good chewing ability. They will also look great too! If your question wasn’t answered of if you need more information please contact Dr. Eric for evaluation or consultation.