What are Dental Crowns

What are Dental Crowns?



A variety of things can cause damage to the teeth, ranging from everyday wear and tear to tooth decay and injury, and dental crowns can be used to repair the teeth in many of these situations. A dental crown, which is often referred to as a cap, is a tooth-colored hollow prosthetic tooth that is cemented over the visible portion of a damaged tooth, restoring its structure and improving its strength and appearance. When tooth decay has weakened a tooth, the tooth can crack; dental crowns can help hold a decayed tooth together after the decayed tissue is removed and sealed, keeping the tooth from breaking and helping to keep it intact if it is already cracked. Dental crowns can also restore the appearance of teeth that are discolored, as well as improving the size and shape of teeth that are broken, cracked, or significantly worn down. Crowns are also used to cover and protect a tooth that has had a root canal, to support dental bridges, and to cover dental implants. With so many different uses, there are a variety of types of dental crowns available to suit specific clinical, aesthetic, and personal needs.


Onlays and ¾ crowns are partial crowns that don’t cover the entire underlying natural tooth, while traditional dental crowns cover the entire tooth. When sufficient healthy tooth structure remains, more conservative treatment with onlays or ¾ crowns might be the preferred approach. Dental crowns can be made of several different types of metal, porcelain fused to metal, composite dental resin, and a few different formulations of ceramic or porcelain, including pressed ceramic.


Before placing any type of dental crown, your dentist will take comprehensive x-rays of your mouth and teeth during a thorough dental examination, identifying any damaged tissue or infection so that it can be treated with a dental filling, root canal, or other appropriate treatment. If sufficient dental tissue is removed, it may be replenished with dental filling material to support the ensuing crown.


To place an onlay or ¾ crown, your dentist will remove damaged tissue and reshape the tooth to properly receive the partial crown. For a traditional crown, the tooth is filed at the top and sides to accommodate the crown, making space for it to hug the tooth snugly and line up properly with its neighbors. After the tooth has been resized and shaped, the dentist will take a mold of the teeth, using this impression to measure and ensure that the patient’s bite won’t be compromised by the crown. This model is used to make a custom dental crown in a dental laboratory.


You’ll get a temporary crown to wear while your custom crown is crafted, keeping the prepared tooth protected throughout the process. At a second office visit once the crown has been completed, it is placed on the tooth. After the temporary crown is removed, the area is numbed with local anesthetic and the permanent crown is bonded into place. Some dentists can make same-day dental crowns in their own offices using computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technologies that use scans of the inside of the mouth and machines that carve ceramic. These cutting-edge procedures require specialized equipment and professional training and can often create crowns in as few as 15 minutes, though additional time is required to treat decay or infection, shape the tooth, and place the crown, of course.

What are the Types of Dental Crowns