A dental crown is a cap that your dentist places over a damaged tooth. The tooth-shaped crown completely covers the tooth, and restores the shape and size of the tooth. Dental crowns can also make a tooth stronger and improve its appearance.
Dental crowns can:
- Protect a weak tooth from fracture or decay
- Hold together the parts of a cracked tooth
- Provide structural support for a tooth with a very large filling when there is not a lot of tooth left
- Cover a misshapen or discolored tooth
- Hold a dental bridge, which replaces a missing tooth
- Improve the cosmetic appearance of the tooth
Dental crowns come in a variety of materials, such as prefabricated stainless steel crowns that serve as temporary protection while a permanent crown is made, durable metal crowns that can withstand the forces of biting and chewing, ceramic and porcelain crowns colored to match your existing teeth, and inexpensive resin crowns.
The placement of dental crowns requires at least two visits to your dentist. During the first appointment, your dentist will examine the tooth in question, evaluate your dental health, and help you determine if a crown is right for you. Your dentist may also take x-rays to check the roots of the receiving tooth and to make sure there is enough jawbone to support the crown. Next, your dentist will anesthetize the tooth and prepare it to receive the crown by reshaping and reducing its size. Finally, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth, which help the laboratory create a crown that matches your other teeth, and place a temporary crown over the prepared tooth.
At the next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the new crown. After you have confirmed the look and fit of the crown, your dentist will cement it into place. During this appointment, your dentist will provide you with hints and tips for keeping your crowns looking and functioning their best.