Dental crowns can be thought of as a kind of “helmet” for your teeth. There are two main parts of your teeth, the root and the enamel. The root, as it sounds, is like that of a tree, the part of the tooth which keeps it in the bones of your jaw. The enamel is the white part of the tooth which your normally see, and it is a protective coating over the tooth defending against bacteria & acid attacks. When this top layer is worn through, cracked, or chipped, usually the solution is to replace it by using a crown. “Well, what are Dental Crowns?”, you ask? The crown restores the protection on the tooth by putting another layer of hard material in between the hostile mob of germs, plaque, acid, and crunchy popcorn which are always on the march.
Crowns come in several varieties, depending on your needs and budget. They can be made of precious metals such as: gold, silver, or chromium. They’re also made from different combinations of porcelain, ceramics, and metal. Pure-metal crowns are the chewing champs, as they wear down the slowest, do not wear down nearby teeth much, less tooth material needs to be removed to place them, and they endure years and years of biting on pens. The catch is the color – remember the James Bond villain “Jaws”? Metal crowns are best in the back of the mouth, for good social manners.
The other side includes porcelain-on-metal, all-ceramic, and all-resin crowns. Porcelain-on-metal are a combination of the strengths of metal crowns, but with a pleasant natural match to your natural teeth. They cause more wear on opposing teeth (as porcelain is much harder than your natural teeth, and will wear the others down more), the porcelain can chip or crack, and the color of the metal in the crown can still show through and make people wonder why you have stripes in your teeth. All-ceramic crowns are the all-around aesthetics champs, and are tolerable for people who have an allergy to metal crowns. The downside here is that they cost a pretty penny and aren’t as strong as the porcelain/metal hybrids. Lastly, resin crowns are the most economical option, but they aren’t as durable as the other types, and tend to wear out faster than the others.