A dental crown is the basic unit of dental prosthetics. It is also known as a false tooth, and is meant to replace the visible portion of the tooth; the part above the gum line that is used in speech, biting and chewing food, and that shine brightly when you smile.
Dental crowns can be made of a variety of materials, but they always serve the same function: to replace- both functionally and aesthetically- a tooth that has gone missing, and closing the gap that a missing tooth causes.
A dental bridge
When more than one tooth has gone missing, more than one crown needs to be used to close the gap and restore proper chewing function. In these cases, a dental bridge is used. A dental bridge is just 2 or more dental crowns in a row, meant to replace two or more missing teeth that are next to each other. Dental bridges can be made of any kind of dental crowns, and can replace any teeth, form molars to front teeth. When an entire row of teeth needs to be replaced it is called a denture.
Types of dental crowns
Dental crowns are differentiated based on what they are made of. Although the outer shell of a dental crown can be made of many things, customarily they are made of tooth coloured porcelain, although other materials- gold, silver, and other precious metals- are typically used. The real difference lies in what kind of internal structures are used. The tooth coloured porcelain outer layer can be fused to a metallic internal structure; this is called a traditional or metal fused dental crown. Although super durable and really great looking, the internal structure can become visible if a strong light is shown on the teeth themselves. The internal structure can also be made of the same porcelain as the shells, or of zirconium oxide, which is a rare mineral that acts just like real teeth and is semi-transparent, catching the light and playing with it, and is durable enough to serve as the internal structure. These crowns cost more than the traditional metal fused ones. Usually, dentists will recommend getting the front teeth replaced with zirconium crowns, and getting the molars replaced with the cheaper but great quality metal fused crowns.