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Crowns

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So why do we need to crown a tooth?

If there is a gross amount of decay in a tooth or a very extensive existing filling which undermines the cusps (sides) of a tooth, then there is a risk of fracture of the tooth which may not be salvagable. In these instances a full 360 degree coverage is required to bind the tooth together and prevent future breakage.

Crowns have come a long way over the past few years. From about 1960 the most popular crowns were made of Porcelain supported by a gold base. About 5 years ago as the price of gold escalated a lot of dental laboratories offered non precious to semi precious chrome based metals instead of gold. A lot of these had problems with discolouration showing through the porcelain. A bigger problem was the lack of adhesion between the metals and the porcelain – this resulted in the porcelain chipping or peeling away from the base metal.

In recent years milled Zirconium bases for crowns started to be used. These crowns had the advantage that there was no metal component within the crown and that the Zircnium was virtually the same strength as the metal.

Zirconium is brilliantly white so the laboratories used a more conventional porcelain over to top of the Zirconium to hide the whiteness and to match the crown to the adjacent teeth. One of the latest versions of these Zirconium based crowns are the “Lava” crowns. These are superbly aesthetic crowns and very strong – if done well they are virtually undetectable. Lava crowns can be used for both crowns and for Porcelain Veneers.

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