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December 18, 2017

The Facts about White Dental Crowns

Like most patients, you have probably heard of dental crowns, and you may even have one or two of these restorations. However, you may not know much about white crowns, an important innovation in cosmetic and restorative dentistry.

Like a traditional metal crown, a white crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that goes on top of a damaged or cosmetically compromised tooth. At the same time, placed by our skilled dentists, a naturally colored “cap” can have tremendous advantages for the look of your smile, as well as your oral health and dental function.

When Is a White Dental Crown Appropriate?

White crowns are typically suitable for most situations in which a metal crown would be appropriate, as well. For instance, we could use a white crown to:

  • Strengthen a cracked tooth
  • Build up a worn tooth
  • Repair a tooth with widespread decay that is too extensive for a simple filling
  • Complete root canal therapy
  • Enhance an irregularly shaped or disproportionately small tooth
  • Cover up a tooth with severe internal staining, which will not respond to teeth whitening
  • Top a dental implant to replace a missing tooth

Modern porcelain is very strong and long-lasting. Nonetheless, in select cases, we may recommend a metal restoration for its additional durability. This is more likely if you need a crown on a molar, especially if you have an imbalanced bite.

What Is a White Crown Made of?

A white crown is made of porcelain. This material comes in a variety of colors, so we can easily find a shade that harmonizes well with your smile. In contrast to other crowns, our white restorations are made of solid porcelain with no underlying metal structure. Therefore, your tooth will maintain its natural shade, and you will not have to worry about the metal showing through over time.

Placing a White Crown

To place a crown, your dentist will begin by reshaping your tooth. This step will enable him to eradicate the damaged or diseased tissue. It will also create room for the crown and ensure a stronger fit. Then the dentist will take impressions of your reshaped tooth. These molds will go off to our partner lab, along with photos of your teeth and gums. The technicians will create your crown to match the shape and color of your natural tooth. The process will usually take about two weeks, and you will wear a temporary cap in the interim. When the lab has finished the final crown, you will come in for a second appointment, at which time your dentist will attach it with composite resin. Once it is in place, any mild sensitivity will subside quickly, and you will soon enjoy your full dental function.

The Benefits of White Crowns

White crowns offer many notable advantages, and the most obvious benefit is cosmetic. The color is not the only feature that gives porcelain its lifelike appearance. This material is also slightly translucent – just like your dental enamel. Therefore, like your natural teeth, porcelain will interact with light to give off a beautiful sparkle.

Less obviously, but no less significantly, white crowns also have important benefits for your oral health and function. Often, they will form a stronger bond with your tooth, so your restored smile will last for many years to come. Furthermore, though metal will expand and contract when the temperature in your mouth changes, ceramic is an inflexible material.

We welcome new patients. Call today to learn more.
about the author

Dr. Kenneth Bunn, DMD.

I value my relationship with each and every one of my patients and hope we develop lifelong bonds.
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