A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth to restore its size, shape, appearance, and strength. There are many uses for crowns from holding a bridge in place to covering a dental implant, but the most common use for a crown is to cap a tooth that has been weakened by a large cavity or filling. Crowns can be used to change the shape and color of the teeth for cosmetic purposes.
Crowns can be made from many different materials including porcelain fused to metal, resin, all-ceramic, all-porcelain, and all-metal. Cosmetic dentists typically use higher quality crowns to achieve aesthetically pleasing results. These crowns are available to all who are willing to pay for them and are more expensive.
Traditionally crowns were done over two separate appointments. On the first appointment, the doctor will remove the portion of the decayed tooth and restore its structural integrity with amalgam or composite resin. Then the doctor will prepare the tooth reducing it to allow space for the crown to fit properly. Once this is done the doctor will take impressions of the tooth and, send the impression off to the dental laboratory for the crown to be fabricated.
While you are waiting for the lab to finish your crown, the tooth will be protected with a temporary crown. It usually takes two weeks to fabricate a crown. With new technology, we are able to use a computer called a cerec, with cad/cam technology to create a crown and seat the crown in one appointment.