Dental Crowns Explained

Dental crowns (also known as caps) are a restoration used to restore strength to a tooth that has been worn down or damaged. They are also recommended following root canal therapy on a tooth.


Metal alloys seldom chip, are resistant to wear and tear and require a minimal amount of natural tooth structure be removed to place them.


Dental crowns are commonly thought of as a restorative procedure, but they also have cosmetic benefits. Crowns are constructed to match the size, shape and color of a patient’s existing teeth for a uniform smile aesthetic. They can also fix teeth that are noticeably chipped, broken or discolored.

Once a tooth is prepped for the crown (including getting rid of decay, reshaping and building up the enamel if necessary), your dentist will take a mold of the tooth with a putty or digital scanner. The impression will then be sent to a laboratory for the custom-made crown.

Most people choose a crown made out of feldspathic porcelain for its luminous, translucent and life-like appearance. Other options include porcelain fused to metal, ceramic veneers and zirconia. Zirconia offers the strongest and most durable crowns, but it may not be as aesthetically pleasing as a porcelain crown.

In addition to their restorative and cosmetic qualities, porcelain and zirconia crowns are also non-reactive and will not corrode like natural teeth do. This makes them a great choice for patients with a metal sensitivity. Dental crowns are incredibly durable and, as long as they’re properly cared for via brushing, flossing, regular dental checkups and preventive cleaning, will last a lifetime. This makes them an affordable option for patients who have had problems with their teeth in the past and need to correct or protect them.


Dental crowns aren’t just used for cosmetic reasons, they help repair damaged teeth and improve chewing function. They also prevent further damage and can strengthen a weak tooth so it doesn’t break or crack under its own weight.

A cracked tooth can often lead to a more serious problem such as infection or even losing the affected tooth. By restoring the shape, strength and appearance of the tooth with a dental crown we can help to prevent this and give you back your healthy smile.

The most common dental crowns are made from a composite material or porcelain that appears to look like a natural tooth. They can be matched to the color of surrounding teeth and cover any discoloration caused by medications or injuries. They are also stain resistant to prevent future discoloration and can whiten teeth that have become yellow over time.

Before a crown is placed the tooth will be anesthetized and then reshaped along the chewing surface and sides to make room for it. The tooth will then be filled with a core filling before the crown is cemented in place.

Different materials are available for crowns including gold alloys, acrylic resin (also known as composite resin crowns), porcelain or zirconia. Porcelain is the most natural looking and the strongest but it is not as durable as a tooth’s softer dentin layer. A newer ceramic called zirconia is strong and can be made very thin allowing more of your natural tooth to be saved.

Prevents Sensitivity

A tooth’s enamel acts as a shield that prevents damage to the softer, more vulnerable interior of the tooth. However, this layer can be worn down or eroded over time. This leaves the underlying dentin of the tooth exposed, causing tooth sensitivity and other issues. A dental crown protects a damaged tooth from the discomfort and potential further problems caused by this exposure.

Dental crowns can be made from a number of different materials. Each will provide different levels of sensitivity protection. Plastic crowns, for example, are good at buffering the tooth against hot or cold but tend to wear down faster than metal. Zirconia is a strong ceramic material that can be made very thin, allowing more of the natural tooth to be saved. However, it is not as cosmetically appealing as a porcelain crown.

The most common type of crown is metal, either gold or a base-metal alloy like titanium. These metals are known for their durability and resistance to wear, making them a good choice for back teeth that take a lot of biting force. These types of crowns also tend to last the longest. However, the metallic color can be a turn off for some patients. In addition, they may be prone to allergic reactions in certain patients.


Dental crowns are designed to be long-lasting, and most will last for five to 15 years. They can last much longer if patients follow oral hygiene guidelines including brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and seeing the dentist for a professional clean every six months. Additionally, if teeth grinding and clenching is a problem, a mouthguard should be used at night to protect the teeth and crowns from excessive wear.

The type of crown that is chosen will also affect how long it will last. Ceramic crowns are one of the most durable types and can be matched to surrounding natural teeth for the best aesthetic result. They can withstand biting and chewing forces, but it is still advisable to avoid biting on hard objects like ice or nuts to prevent premature damage to the crowns.

Other durable options include porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFM), which are a metal-backed restoration that has been in use for centuries. They are stronger and more durable than standard gold crowns, and offer a similar appearance to a natural tooth.

Zirconia crowns are another option, with a solid-coloured opaque core that can be bonded to the natural tooth surface and then custom-layered with standard transparent porcelain for a more lifelike appearance. These are made on-site by a dentist using the CEREC system in their own office.