What are crowns?
A crown is a restoration that covers, or “caps,” a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won’t solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked, a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn’t get worse. Crowns are also used to support a large filling when there isn’t enough of the tooth remaining, attach a bridge, protect weak teeth from fracturing, restore fractured teeth, or cover badly shaped or discolored teeth. Crowns today are generally made of beautiful porcelain that looks natural and lifelike. Sometimes an “onlay” is done instead of a crown. If there is enough strong, healthy tooth structure left, an onlay instead of a crown may be prescribed.
How is a crown placed?
To prepare the tooth for a crown, it is reduced so the crown can fit over it. In the case of an onlay, less tooth structure is reduced. An impression of teeth and gums is made and sent to the lab for the crown fabrication. A temporary crown is fitted over the tooth until the permanent crown is made. On the next visit, we remove the temporary crown and cement the definitive crown onto the tooth.
In the example above, the three back teeth have been restored with crowns and onlays.