Dental Crowns: Everything You Need to Know


Dental crowns are a common and effective dental restoration. Earliest evidence of the use of crowns dates back to 200 AD when gold, ivory and bone were commonly used to restore teeth. Today, dental crowns play an important role in preserving and enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of damaged teeth.

Whether you're dealing with a cracked tooth, a severely decayed tooth, or a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment, dental crowns offer a versatile solution. In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about dental crowns, from their purpose and types to the procedure involved and proper care.

What are dental crowns used for?

Dental crowns, also known as caps, are prosthetic devices that are cemented onto a damaged tooth to cover and protect it. The primary purposes of dental crowns include:

Restoration of the tooth structure

Dental crowns are most commonly used to restore the structure of a tooth that has been damaged due to decay, fractures, or wear and tear. They provide a protective shell that helps the tooth regain its strength and functionality.

Dental crowns are commonly placed on a tooth following a root canal procedure, as this will help to reinforce the tooth and help it to last for longer.

Protection of a weakened tooth

Protection of a weakened tooth

Teeth that have undergone extensive decay or a large filling may become weakened. Dental crowns act as a protective barrier, preventing further damage and potential fractures.

Dental crowns are commonly seen as a last resort to help protect a tooth before extraction and replacement is recommended.

Support for dental bridges

Dental crowns are essential components of dental bridges. They serve as anchors by capping the natural teeth on either side of a gap, providing stability and support for the bridge.

Covering dental implants

Dental crowns are used to cover and complete dental implants. When a tooth is lost and replaced with an implant, a crown is placed on top to mimic the natural tooth's appearance and function.

Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth with one crown, or they can be combined with a dental bridge to replace multiple teeth.

What types of dental crowns are available

What types of dental crowns are available?

Dental crowns are made out of a wide range of materials. Every material has its own advantages and disadvantages. There are also cheaper options and more expensive options, depending on your budget and preferences.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are popular for their natural appearance and ability to closely mimic the colour and translucency of natural teeth. They are an excellent choice for front teeth restoration.

One disadvantage of porcelain crowns is that they are prone to chips and cracks. This could mean you need to replace your crown eventually. Most porcelain crowns will last around 10-15 years with the correct care.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns, often made of alloys containing gold, provide exceptional durability and strength. While they are less aesthetic, they are suitable for molars and areas where appearance is not a primary concern.

Porcelain-fused-to-Metal (PFM) Crowns

PFM crowns offer all of the strength of metal combined with the superior aesthetics of porcelain. This restoration is incredibly versatile as it is suitable for both front and back teeth. Since the porcelain is bonded over a metal base, they will have a slightly darker colour than an all-porcelain crown. The porcelain is also prone to chips and cracks.

All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns

All-ceramic crowns offer superior aesthetics and are free of metal. They are a popular choice for front teeth restorations. With an all-ceramic or all-porcelain restoration, you will need to be careful when eating certain foods as there is a risk the crown could chip or crack. If you grind your teeth at night, a ceramic or porcelain crown might not be the ideal choice.

How is a dental crown placed

How is a dental crown placed?

The process for creating and placing your crown takes place across multiple visits to the dentist.

Every dental crown journey starts with a consultation to better understand your needs and requirements. The dentist examines the tooth, takes X-rays, and discusses the treatment plan with the patient.

Next, the tooth is prepared by removing a portion of its outer structure to create space for the crown. This allows your dentist to take a digital or physical impression of your tooth to help create a crown that will fit perfectly in place. Your dentist will also take an impression of your opposite teeth to make sure the tooth fits your bite.

While the permanent crown is being fabricated, you can wear a temporary crown to protect the tooth. It can take a few weeks for the final crown to be fabricated, and this step simply ensures your tooth is protected during this time.

Once the permanent crown is ready, it is cemented onto the prepared tooth, restoring its function and appearance. Your dentist will check your bite to ensure the crown fits perfectly alongside your other teeth. It might take a bit of time to get used to the new chewing surface and your tooth may feel slightly more sensitive as you adjust.

How do you care for a crown

How do you care for a crown?

Aftercare is essential to ensure your crown lasts a long time. To care for your dental crown, make sure you observe the following aftercare instructions:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly to prevent decay and gum disease.

  • While dental crowns are durable, it's advisable to avoid excessively hard or chewy foods to prevent damage.

  • Schedule regular dental check-ups to ensure the crown's stability and address any issues promptly.


Dental crowns are a valuable dental treatment that can significantly improve the health and appearance of damaged teeth. With various types of crowns available and a straightforward placement procedure, they offer a versatile solution for a range of dental issues.

Proper care and maintenance, combined with regular dental check-ups, contribute to the longevity and success of dental crowns in preserving your oral health. If you have concerns about a damaged tooth, consult with your dentist to determine if a dental crown is the right solution for you.

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