Crowns, also known as caps, are natural-looking covers that fit snugly over teeth to protect cracked, badly discolored, injured or chipped teeth. Crowns minimize physical discomfort and provide support for damaged teeth. Ultimately, crowns can improve the overall appearance of a patient’s smile while making the teeth more resistant to injury.
A crown may:
- protect a weak tooth from breaking or hold together an already cracked tooth
- restore a severely worn down or broken tooth
- cover and support a tooth with a large filling (when there isn’t a lot of tooth left)
- hold a dental bridge in place
- cover a misshapened or severely discolored tooth
- cover a dental implant
- make a cosmetic modification
A crown may be used for children on baby teeth if a tooth has been so damaged by decay that it wouldn’t support a filling or to protect the teeth of a child at high risk for tooth decay.
There are many types of dental crowns available. A patient can choose from stainless steel, metals (like gold or alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin, ceramic or porcelain.
Because a crown is constructed in a dental lab by professionals working with the patient’s own teeth impressions, the cap will be perfectly shaped for the tooth. This is important because dental restorations that don’t properly touch against neighboring or opposing teeth can allow tooth shifting or food to trap in adjacent teeth. This can lead to other ailments including tooth decay and gum disease.
The crown selection and application process is usually complete within two dental visits. With proper care and oral habits, a dental crown can last anywhere from five to 15 years and longer.