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What is a dental crown?

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Quick Answer

A dental crown is a dental device in the form of a cap that covers a tooth to restore the size, strength and shape of the tooth. A crown covers the entire visible tooth when used.

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What is a dental crown?
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Full Answer

A dental crown protects a weak tooth from breaking. The procedure is effective when restoring an already broken tooth. A dental crown is also used to hold a dental bridge in position and to cover dental implants. Children may have dental crowns to cover teeth that have decayed, as stated by WebMD.

There are different types of dental crowns, including all-resin, metal, porcelain, stainless steel and milled. There are also permanent and temporary crowns that are used, depending on the condition of an individual's teeth.

Metal crowns rarely chip or break, but their color means they are best restricted to back molars. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can be color-matched to teeth. Cracked, damaged, weakened, worn down, misshaped or severely discolored teeth are all potential candidates for dental crowns.

A dental crown may also be used to hold a dental bridge in place or to cover a dental implant. Depending on the dentistry needs of a patient, both a temporary or permanent crown might be necessary. The former can be made in a dentist's office, while the latter is made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns typically protect the teeth during the time a dental laboratory manufacturers the permanent crown. Some newer techniques and materials include custom milling dental crowns from small blocks of zirconia. Since zirconia crowns can generally be prepared so quickly, they reduce the chances of a temporary crown negatively influencing a weak tooth.

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