Dental crowns, sometimes called “tooth crowns” or “teeth crowns,” are restorations designed to protect and strengthen teeth that have been weakened by decay or damaged by injury. Dental crowns are used when you have:
- Large fillings with additional decay at the margins
- Structural weakening due to decay
- A cracked tooth
- Endodontic treatment
- A missing tooth replaced with a dental bridge
A dental crown is designed to fit snugly over the portion of your tooth above the gum line (confusingly, this is also called the “crown”). It seals off the tooth from attack by bacteria and provides structural support. Sometimes dental crowns are used to support dental bridges. In this case, the crown might be put over healthy teeth that serve as anchors for the bridge.
Traditionally, dental crowns were made of gold, but recently there are many options for dental crown materials. Most dental crowns used today are made of porcelain fused to metal, which is designed to combine the aesthetic benefits of porcelain crowns with the strength of metal substructure. However, all-ceramic crowns are becoming increasingly popular, and new advances in materials mean that they are comparable in strength to metal crowns.