A crown is a tooth shaped cover (cap) that is placed over a tooth that has been prepared by the dentist. A crown is needed when a tooth has had a significant amount of trauma or decay on the tooth. A crown may be recommended for a tooth that has had a root canal, has greater than 50% of the tooth missing, or an entire cusp, a tooth with a significant crack or break, or is covering an implant.
There are quite a few different kinds of materials that a crown can be made of.
Porcelain Fused to Metal is a crown that has an interior of metal that is covered by porcelain. This crown can be matched in color to the surrounding teeth making it aesthetically pleasing.
An all Ceramic or all porcelain crowns are the most natural in tooth color and are great for front teeth. They are also great for those who have an allergy to metals.
Zirconium Crowns fused to porcelain are so close to natural teeth that it is hard to tell the difference. Zirconium crowns are also very strong and can be used anywhere in the mouth. Full zirconium crowns may be recommended in patients that have a strong bite and a history of breaking teeth.
Gold crowns are ideal for capping teeth that are in the back of the mouth. Gold is very long lasting and gentle to the teeth they bite against. They will also not chip. Out of all of the different types of dental crowns, gold crowns probably have the greatest potential for lasting the longest even though they are not the most aesthetically pleasing.