Crowns (commonly referred to as “caps”) have historically been made of a precious metal substructure with tooth colored porcelain fused to the metal.  There has been a shift toward using crowns made entirely of a porcelain or ceramic material since they are less prone to chipping, have enhanced esthetics and are less likely to have a dark appearance as the gum line recedes.

A dental crown is a restoration that completely covers a tooth and is indicated for a variety of reasons.  Some of these reasons include concealing cracked decayed, discolored or chipped teeth or when a tooth has been filled too many times and placing another filling is no longer an option.  Crowns not only enhance the appearance of the teeth, but also provide added support to structurally deficient teeth.

Procedure for Dental Crowns

The process of restoring a tooth with a crown begins with the dentist removing any decay and defective filling material that may be present first.  In most cases, the tooth will then be left with a large void that needs to be reconstructed so that the tooth may then serve as a solid foundation for the crown.  Filling the void is known as a build-up because the tooth is being built back up.  Once a solid foundation is achieved, the tooth is then re-shaped to allow clearance for the crown to completely cover the tooth without interfering with the natural form and feel of the bite.

Once the dentist finishes re-shaping the tooth, either a digital scan or impression is made of the tooth followed by the fabrication of a temporary crown.  The temporary crown is worn for approximately two weeks while the permanent crown is being fabricated by a dental laboratory.  When the new permanent crown is ready, a second appointment is created and at that visit, the dentist removes the temporary crown and checks the fit of the permanent crow

After making any necessary adjustments and the crown has an accurate fit on the tooth, the dentist then permanently cements the crown in place.  With proper care and maintenance, a dental crowns could last on the order of many years if not decades!