Temporary vs. Permanent Crowns
A temporary crown is often made in the dentist’s office. Temporary crowns are placed to maintain a patient's appearance and minimize sensitivity until a permanent crown can be created in a laboratory. In order to design both temporary and permanent customized crowns, the dentist will take either traditional or digital impressions. The dentist may also take photographs of the patient’s teeth or use a shade guide to provide further information to the lab technicians. This will ensure the new crown looks completely natural.
In some cases, your dentist may be able to place a same-day crown. Using computer-aided design and computer-aided technology (CAD/CAM) systems such as CEREC®, a growing number of practitioners offer this convenient option. Patients will not need to receive a temporary and the crown can be milled on-site while they wait. Same-day crowns are made from blocks of durable dental porcelain.
Choosing the Right Material
Once your dentist determines a crown is the best way to restore or enhance your smile, you can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each available material.
All-porcelain crowns are typically recommended to restore or enhance the front teeth because they offer superior aesthetics.
Crowns made entirely of porcelain or ceramic are preferred for the front teeth because they offer superior aesthetics. These materials are translucent, just like natural enamel, and can be precisely shaded. All-ceramic restorations lack the strength and durability of metal crowns. They also tend to be the most expensive type of crown.
Gold and other types of alloys may be recommended for the molars. In addition, stainless steel crowns are often used for pediatric patients whose baby teeth require protection from further deterioration or decay. Metal crowns are extremely resistant to wear and tear from chewing and biting, and they tend to last longer than other materials. The biggest drawback is their appearance because metal is easily visible against tooth enamel. For this reason, metal crowns are typically placed in the back of the mouth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns offer some of the best features of all-porcelain and all-metal crowns. The porcelain that coats PFMs can be matched to the surrounding teeth, so they blend naturally into patients' smiles. The metal present in PFMs makes them stronger and more durable than all-porcelain crowns, so they are often incorporated into dental bridges. Unfortunately, some patients develop a dark line at the base of these crowns as the metal ridge becomes more visible if the gums recede.