What are Dental Crowns Made Of?

Dental crowns are among the oldest and most popular dental restorations today. A dental crown can improve a smile’s appearance, reinforce its structure, protect it from damage, and in some cases, replace a tooth that’s lost or has to be extracted. Considering the prevalence of dental diseases and damage, there’s a good chance that you have had, or may need, a dental crown placed at some point in your life. Dedicated Lake Forest dentist, Dr. James Fondriest, offers a wide variety of dental crowns made from different materials to serve each patient’s specific needs, and can help restore your smile by helping you find the right one.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is named after the top part of your tooth, also called a crown, which the dental restoration is designed to improve, restore, or replace. The dental crown is placed over a tooth when the natural crown is severely blemished, or has been treated for an infection or fractured by traumatic force.

Acting as a shield (and often called a cap), a dental crown is crafted to the exact dimensions of your tooth, then placed over the tooth’s entire crown and bonded in place. The porcelain crown can hold the tooth together while absorbing the pressures of biting and chewing, protecting the weak tooth from further damage.

How long can a crown last? It depends on the quality of the restoration, your diet, medication use, and how much the restoration is abused.

Crown materials

Most often, dental crowns are crafted in a trusted dental lab and made from lifelike dental porcelain. Alternately known as ceramic, dental porcelain is comprised of ultra-thin, semi-translucent layers that mimic the way tooth enamel reflects light. After being tinted to exactly match your teeth’s color, a porcelain crown is virtually indistinguishable from a natural, healthy tooth. Because the ceramic is so thin, Dr. Fondriest can place your dental crown with minimal tooth preparation. The biocompatible dental porcelain reduces the risk of gum recession (gums separating from your teeth) for longer-lasting and more aesthetically pleasing results. Different forms of dental porcelain that Dr. Fondriest recommends include;

  • E-Max—the newest cosmetic porcelain, E-Max is durable and produces the most lifelike aesthetic results, including natural-looking long term wear characteristics of natural adult tooth enamel. Aside from their remarkable beauty, E-Max crowns are typically 2-3 times stronger than most other dental ceramic systems.
  • Empress—with an excellent fit and lifelike appearance, Empress porcelain is often recommended for front teeth that are most visible when you smile. Since their strength is limited, Dr. Fondriest doesn’t recommend Empress for back teeth, which must absorb a higher amount of pressure every day.
  • Procera—a two-layered system that uses an aluminum oxide base coping that is custom-milled with CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) technology. Their unique construction makes Procera crowns attractive and lifelike, and the material is also a popular choice for porcelain veneers.

There are many cost factors that determine why crowns are so expensive. Quality and cost are measured by longevity and how well it replicates the former tooth it replaced.

Advanced Restorative Treatment with Implants and Crowns

The beauty of dental crowns is that they’re designed to be exact replicas of your natural teeth. Because of their ability to match your healthy surrounding teeth, dental crowns are also employed as a cosmetic measure to improve the looks of teeth that are severely stained, chipped, cracked, misshapen, or otherwise less than aesthetically perfect. Crowns can be made of many different materials. Dentists try to match the best crown for each treatment situation.

To further a dental crown’s similarity to your natural tooth, Dr. Fondriest can also secure a porcelain dental crown to a dental implant—a surgically inserted root device that can anchor the crown in place, effectively replacing a lost or extracted tooth. Combined with a prosthetic tooth root, a dental crown can complete its imitation of your tooth by standing on a root that’s embedded into your jawbone.

About Lake Forest Dental Arts:

Aside from providing expert general and cosmetic dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.