What is a Dental crown?
A Dental crown is a prosthetic tooth shaped crown or cap placed over a tooth to protect the underlying tooth structure from external forces. The Dental Crown is cemented onto the tooth surface and will cover the entire tooth structure visible above the Gingiva or Gum line. A Dental crown is used to restore the function, shape, size, strength and aesthetics of a tooth.
What are the Types of Dental Crowns?
Dental Crowns are made up of different materials and are divided based on the types of material used to manufacture the crown. There are two types of crowns based on duration of use – Temporary or Provisional and Permanent Crowns. The Temporary Crowns are made up to Acrylic and are used for intermediate restorative purpose.
Permanent Crowns are made up of Different materials:
Metal Crown: These are the strongest but not the most aesthetic crowns, these are indicated for posterior teeth or in cases where the patient cannot afford a Ceramic or PFM crown or when only a minimal tooth preparation can be done and there is no interocclusal space available. In general metal crowns are used as a temporary crown in developed nations while developing or poor nations a Metal crown is used as a permanent crown due to the cost factor.
Porcelain fused to Metal Crown: These are also called as PFM crowns more commonly and it comes with a metal base fused to a porcelain layer on top to bring the tooth like appearance. These are stronger than All Ceramic crowns but are not as aesthetic as the Full Ceramic or Zirconia Crowns. These are known to fuse well with the tooth as well.
All Ceramic or All Porcelain: These are the best looking crowns which can match any color shade the patients have and can appear the most natural. These are best in case of patients with metal allergy. These are best suited for front teeth as they have excellent appearance but in posterior teeth they tend to wear down the opposing teeth overtime more than the metal or resin crowns. Zirconium is a type of Ceramic so it comes under Ceramic Crowns.
Porcelain Fused to Zirconium: These come with a Zirconium base with Porcelain layer on top to achieve good strength and aesthetics. These can be used in patients with Metal allergy.
All Zirconium Crown: These are also called as Monolithic Crowns and these are costlier than the PFM or All ceramic crowns but are more aesthetic are require much less tooth preparation or trimming of the tooth. These are on the costlier side.
When is a Dental Crown needed?
Here are the some of the situations in which a Dental Crown is suggested:
- Fractured tooth which is weak and needs reinforcement
- Weak tooth due to Dental Caries
- Severely attrided or worn out tooth
- Previously restored tooth (large restoration like a MOD) with amalgam which has very less sound tooth structure remaining
- Discolored teeth – Stains, Fluorosis etc.
- Root Canal Treated tooth
- Replace a missing tooth with the help of a Dental Bridge
- On a Dental Implant
What is the Cost of Dental Crowns?
Metal Crowns: Full metal crown starts from $150 per tooth and may go up to $300 depending on the Dental Clinic you visit in USA. In India and other countries it can start from $30 to $50.
Porcelain fused to metal or PFM crowns: In the USA they cost around $1000 to $1500 while in developing countries they can be anywhere between $60 to $150.
Zirconia, emax, lava or All Ceramic Crowns: These can cost anywhere between $1500 to $2000 in the US and in developing countries they are around $200 – $400.
The cost of the dental crown varies a lot on various factors such as location, the Dentist performing the procedure, the Dental clinic or practice which you have visited. IF you visit a Dental clinic is a posh or upmarket locality the costs can be high, in case you visit a Dental School the cost of the treatment can be much lower. There are certain Dental plans and Insurance which cover Dental Crowns and it can make it much cheaper for you to get that done.