A dental crown is actually a tooth-shaped cover that is placed over a tooth in order to protect it or restore its shape, size, strength, and/or appearance. When cemented in place, a crown will fully encase the visible part of the tooth at and above the gum line. There are many reasons a tooth may need a dental crown including protection of a weak structure, restoration of a worn or broken tooth, to hold a dental bridge in place, improve alignment, or to cover a tooth for cosmetic reasons. While crowns are primarily fabricated for adults, there are instances when a crown may be recommended for a child to preserve baby teeth and placement until permanent teeth come in.
Placing a crown normally happens in two appointments. In the first, a temporary crown is made in the doctor’s office to act as an interim restoration. After the permanent crown is fabricated in a specialized laboratory from impressions made in our office, it is permanently cemented in place during your second appointment. Permanent crowns come in many different materials, including stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain fused to metal, and all resin or all ceramic. Typically, stainless steel crowns are temporary measures to protect the tooth while a permanent crown is being made, or they may be used in pediatric dentistry to protect compromised primary teeth. If your tooth needs a crown, Dr. McArdle will outline the complete process with you and discuss options.