A crown is a tooth shaped “Cap” that is placed over a prepared tooth. Its purpose is to restore a tooth to its proper form and function. A crown is full coverage, meaning it completely covers the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. A crown is cemented into place and is a permanent restoration that looks and functions just like your natural teeth, so it is important for it to be cared for like your natural teeth.
A crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To provide protection to a weakened tooth and prevent it from potentially breaking or fracturing
- To repair a severely worn or cracked tooth
- If a large filling has been placed and has compromised the strength of the tooth, a crown can restore the structural integrity.
- Teeth that have had a root canal are weakened and require a crown for strength.
- Crowns can be used in cosmetic procedures even when structural integrity is not an issue, such as teeth that are unattractive in shape or are severely discolored.
A crown can be made from all metal, like a gold crown, from all porcelain, or a combination of porcelain and metal. An all porcelain crown is more aesthetically pleasing and natural looking. It has a translucent quality that allows light to pass through it just like our teeth, providing the natural look.
A porcelain and metal fused crown has a metal base with the porcelain on top. Light cannot shine through it, causing the color to not look as natural because the porcelain has to hide the metal underneath.
A bridge is three or more crowns attached to each other and it is used to restore missing teeth. A bridge usually restores a single missing tooth. Sometimes it can restore several. A bridge utilizes the teeth adjacent to the space to be retained. The anchoring teeth that hold the bridge in place are called abutments. The “fake tooth” or replacement for the missing tooth is called a pontic.