When not properly cared for, our teeth can weaken as they get exposed to bacteria that cause dental caries or cavities. As a result, chips or cracks can happen on the surface of the teeth. This occurrence not only makes the teeth unpleasant to look at, but can also lead to health problems given that our teeth can no longer function properly.
One of the many ways our teeth can be restored is through the use of dental crowns.
Crowns are a kind of dental appliance that are each shaped like a tooth. They can help damaged or weak teeth by protecting or keeping the broken parts of the teeth intact. They can also be used to improve the appearance of misshapen or discolored teeth, cap a dental implant, hide large fillings, or keep a dental bridge in place.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes behind that small yet sturdy dental crown of yours, this article (and a bonus behind-the-scenes video from our lab) will tell you more.
First, what are dental crowns made of?
In Singapore, there are various materials that a dental crown can be made of - these include all ceramic or all-porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all-resin, metal or zirconia.
All-ceramic or all-porcelain
For people allergic to metals, the best material to use for a dental crown is ceramic or porcelain.
Crowns made from either of these components closely mimic the colour of natural teeth.
Due to their ability to bond, they are usually more conservative in trimming your tooth.
Porcelain or ceramic crowns do not last as long as compared to their metal or resin counterparts.
Most are slightly stronger than pure ceramic or pure porcelain crowns.
They can wear teeth that rub against it and the metal portion of the crown (which appears as a dark line) may be more obvious especially when gums recede.
Mix of different plastic materials, most budget friendly.
Least durable out of all dental crowns, that is they fracture easily and cannot withstand immense pressure.
Extremely durable, able to withstand intense chewing forces. Recommended for molars.
Not aesthetically pleasing as colours cannot be altered to match your natural teeth.
Very strong1 and last as long as metal crowns.
Appearance wise, they can match up to porcelain crowns but they are more opaque and hence might not look as natural.
May damage neighbouring teeth that come into contact.
Adjustments can also be difficult to make once they have been set in place permanently.
To decide which material is best for you, please speak to your dentist.
How are dental crowns made?
At Dental Designs, we are proud to have a stellar team of in-house technicians and dentists who can create excellent, high quality same day dental crowns. We believe that your dental crown involves not just the correct software but a touch of artistry as well.
Here is a quick overview on the steps involved in making a dental crown with us:
1) Dental assessment
You will undergo a thorough examination so we can check your overall oral health. Each tooth with evident decay or damage that may need a dental crown will be identified. A photo image of your oral profile will also be taken. This, together with the examination results of your teeth, will be used to plan your treatment. We will recommend alternative options for treatment in case dental crowns are not the ideal solution for your teeth’s condition.
2) Getting the tooth ready followed by 3D scanning
This involves taking away the decaying parts of the tooth in order to keep the rest healthy and establish the durability of the dental crown. Next, a 3D scanner (CEREC) is used to scan your teeth. The image generated from this will be used to make your teeth’s 3D model. Compared to traditional moulds, 3D models cut your waiting time as the crowns can be fabricated instantly and on the same day.
3) Customizing your crown’s design
It is our goal for you to have a natural looking set of teeth. With the help of our advanced software, called CEREC CAD/CAM, we then proceed to custom design your dental crowns. This process ensures that your dental crowns fit well among the surrounding teeth and can withstand pressures from biting and chewing.
4) Crown milling and final touches
Using the 3D CAD/CAM, we mill your crowns from a single block of ceramic material. As soon as the crowns are made, they are sent to our in-house dental technician who works magic by making your dental crown look natural.
5) Application of crown
Once the crown is ready, it is set in its proper place and secured with the use of dental adhesives.
6) Follow up consultation
We ask our patients to come back after one week for a follow-up consultation to ensure that your dental crown is not causing any problem. During this time, we will assess the strength of the crown and see if its placement has any negative effect on your bite.
Am I a suitable candidate for dental crowns?
You are a suitable candidate for dental crowns if you wish to:
- Cap a dental implant
- Protect a weak tooth from further decay
- Restore a broken tooth
- Secure a dental bridge in place
- If a root canal treatment was done on your tooth
Dental crowns may also be used for cosmetic purposes, like improving the appearance of a tooth that is heavily stained, misshapen, or has visible cracks or damages. However, if this is your purpose, you might also want consider porcelain veneers.
Are same day crowns better than lab created crowns?
Lab-created crowns2 require at least two appointments and a waiting time of 2-3 weeks to complete. The process also includes sinking your teeth into gooey impressions and getting fitted with a temporary crown.
With same day crowns, patients can get their crown milled and placed in a single visit.
Creating same day crowns, we use CAD/CAM technology to measure and recreate every detail of your existing tooth to ensure your porcelain crown looks as natural as possible. We can also do modifications on the spot if necessary.
Lab-created crowns run a high risk of inaccuracy, as analog impressions tend to be distorted if you have too much saliva in your mouth or if your technician makes a mistake.
Same day crowns ensure an accurate fit as the CAD/CAM technology takes a clear 3D impression of your teeth.
Durability and strength
Granted, lab-created crowns that are made from metals are inevitably stronger. However, today’s same day crowns are made from sturdy porcelain and can last anywhere from 10-15 years with proper care and maintenance.
The cost of getting a lab-created crown and same day crown is comparable.
Do you have any questions for us? Feel free to drop us a message and we will be happy to assist!
- Zhang Y, Mai Z, Barani A, Bush M, Lawn B. Fracture-resistant monolithic dental crowns. Dent Mater. 2016 Mar;32(3):442-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dental.2015.12.010. Epub 2016 Jan 11. PMID: 26792623; PMCID: PMC4764450.
- Jung JM, Kim GN, Koh YH, Kim HE. Manufacturing and Characterization of Dental Crowns Made of 5-mol% Yttria Stabilized Zirconia by Digital Light Processing. Materials (Basel). 2023 Feb 9;16(4):1447. doi: 10.3390/ma16041447. PMID: 36837076; PMCID: PMC9963883.