A dental crown is a type of tooth restoration that can be made from metal, porcelain, porcelain and metal, or a special kind of resin. The restoration is made by taking an impression of a tooth that will later be used in a special laboratory as a mold to make the final device. A temporary cap is typically made out of acrylic in the office until the final piece is ready for insertion into the patient’s mouth. The patient will then return for a second appointment, where the crown will be affixed to his or her tooth using a special kind of cement.
A dental crown can be used for both medical and cosmetic purposes. Some dentists will use them to cover a tooth that has been cracked or chipped. This helps reinforce the tooth against possible future damage in the hopes of saving the tooth in the long run. Other healthcare professionals will use a restoration to create an anchor for a bridge. In the cosmetic realm, crowns are also used to cover badly discolored teeth, misshapen teeth, or teeth that have very large fillings visible to others. They are also used to cover titanium implants that are used to replace missing teeth.
Metal restorations are the sturdiest, but they often lack the cosmetic appeal of a more natural looking substance such as porcelain. Pure porcelain can be made to emulate natural teeth, but it is not as strong as porcelain overlaid on top of metal. Less expensive substances made from resins can also be used, but they are not as durable as porcelain, metal, or porcelain fused to metal pieces.