Dental Crowns

Dental crowns, also known as “caps,” preserve the functionality of damaged teeth. A dental crown may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay or replace a pre-existing crown. The purpose of a dental crown is to encase a needy tooth with a custom-designed material. Dentists today have a variety of conservative treatment options through which to restore teeth. If possible, these options should be explored and discussed before selecting the full coverage crown.

Dental Crowns Consultation and Treatment Planning

If tooth decay or damage is so extensive that veneers, direct composite bonding or other conservative treatments aren't viable treatment options — or if you have undergone root canal therapy — your dentist will consult with you about dental crowns. Whether used to restore a damaged tooth or to create a lifelike tooth replacement for an implant, crowns can be fabricated in dental laboratories or in your dentist's office, depending on the crown material.

Part of your dental crown consultation may involve taking impressions of your existing tooth (or teeth) as a basis for creating the shape and size of your crown restoration(s). If dental crowns will be used as part of a smile makeover, these impressions are used to make models for designing the new length, shape and alignment of your teeth, so that you can preview your new smile before committing to treatment.

Your dentist also will describe the tooth preparation process, as well as your options with regard to local anesthesia (to numb your teeth and surrounding areas), if necessary. If your dental crown treatment involves placement of a temporary crown, your dentist will advise you of how long you will need to have the temporary in place and what hygiene steps to take to ensure functionality.

Crown Materials: Gold, Ceramic and Porcelain Crowns

The three predominant choices of restorative materials for the full coverage crowns are:

  1. Porcelain-fused-to-metal
  2. All-ceramic (all-porcelain)
  3. Gold

The material selected is determined by the clinical demands at hand; esthetic demands, strength requirements, material durability and restorative space available.