What is a crown?

A crown is a cover or “cap” your dentist can put on a tooth. The crown restores the tooth to its normal shape, size and function. The purpose of a crown is to make the tooth stronger or improve the way it looks.

Why do I need a crown?

You may need a crown if you:

  • Have a cavity that is too large for a filling
  • Have a missing tooth and need a bridge
  • Need to cover a dental implant
  • Have a tooth that is cracked, worn down or otherwise weakened
  • Have had root canal treatment—the crown will protect the root canal treated tooth
  • Want to cover a discolored or badly shaped tooth and improve your smile!

What is it made from?

Crowns are made from several types of materials. Metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, composite resin, or combinations of these materials may be used. In the process of making a crown, the material chosen will blend in with your natural teeth, especially if it is in the front.

Your dentist wants to create a crown that looks natural and fits comfortably in your mouth. To decide on the material for your crown, your dentist will consider the tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, your preference, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, the color or shade of the tooth, and the function of the tooth.

How is a crown placed?

Several steps are involved, and two dental visits are generally needed to complete the treatment.

  • Our dentist prepares the tooth by removing its outer portion so the crown will fit. Any decay is also removed. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, the dentist may Build Up the core of the tooth. A local anesthetic is needed.
  • An impression is made to provide an exact model for the crown.
  • You will get a temporary crown while you wait for the permanent crown to be ready—usually less than two weeks. While you have the temporary crown, this tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold. Also, avoid chewing gum or sticky foods during this time.
  • A laboratory technician then uses the model to help make the crown.
  • When the new crown is ready, our dentist places it in your mouth and makes the necessary adjustments. When you and your dentist are satisfied with how it looks and feels, the crown is cemented in place.

Before crown: Worn filling with decay and broken cusp

Crown is placed over prepared tooth

After crown placement

Build Up

As mentioned before, if there is not enough tooth structure left, a build-up of the core of the tooth is needed to provide enough structure for the crown. This build-up can be either composite or amalgam (See Fillings Section for more information on amalgam and composite).

What Type of Crowns Are Available?

Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are usually placed on primary (baby) teeth of children. They are prefabricated (pre-made). The main advantage of stainless steel crown is that they are cost effective and does not require multiple visits. The fit of stainless steel crowns are not as good as custom crowns. Primary teeth will be lost as the permanent teeth erupts, so there is no need to protect it as well as a permanent tooth.

Stainless Steel Crowns


Metal offers strength and endurance. A full-metal crown may be recommended for back teeth where the forces of biting and chewing are the greatest. A full- metal crown rarely chips or breaks. In addition, it requires minimal removal of tooth structure. It is usually not recommended for anterior (front) teeth due to its lack of esthetics.

A full- metal crown is often the least expensive treatment option for a crown; if it is a non precious metal. Please note that non-precious metal may cause allergic reactions or gum line discoloration for some patients.


Gold is another option to get good strength and durability. However it is a precious metal and will cost more. There have been very little reported allergies to gold and gold will not cause gum line discoloration. Gold will likely last the longest.

Gold Crown

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)

A porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crown is similar to a full metal crown, except that a layer of porcelain is added on top of the full metal crown. The full metal crown underneath it will provide strength and durability. A PFM will require more tooth structure to be removed to accommodate the porcelain. The porcelain can also chip and fracture, but it will provide a natural surface that will resemble the rest of your teeth.

Porcelain Metal Crown

Ceramic Crowns

Ceramic crowns contain no metal and are entirely made from a glass-like material, offering a natural look. They will give the best match to your natural teeth than any other type of crown. They are also great alternatives to people with metal allergies. However, to prevent the glass-like material from breaking or fracturing, more of your tooth structure must be removed to accommodate the thickness of the material. They are also more prone to cracking and fracture.

Ceramic Crowns

We offer 2 types of ceramic crowns: Full Zirconia and Emax

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