The tooth is carefully evaluated so that the best material is selected to optimize functional and esthetic results. Front crowns often require custom shade matching procedures to achieve the best result.

Crowns completely cover every visible part of the tooth -which is why they are sometimes referred to as “caps.” A part of your tooth remains but is essentially “rebuilt” to resemble the tooth at its exterior best.

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There are various reasons why you might need a crown.

  • The tooth might be broken down due to decay or fracture. The crown serves to restore the original size, shape and contours of the original tooth.
  • The tooth might have had a root canal treatment. Over time a tooth that has had root canal will become brittle (think: brittle branch that snaps easily). The crown fits over the tooth and completely encircles it (think strap around a barrel) to protect it from further damage.
  • The tooth might be completely intact but misaligned. A crown can be placed over the tooth to make the tooth appear more in line with the adjacent teeth.
  • The tooth might be completely intact but the color is off. A crown can be done to correct inconsistencies in the shade of a tooth to make it match better.

Crowns can be made of various materials.  In the past, most crowns were made with a metal substructure for strength and porcelain baked over that for cosmetics. The porcelain is matched to the existing shade of the adjacent teeth. Crowns in the front are often made with all ceramics There are many different types of ceramics that can be used and depending on the color and translucency of the teeth to be restored, an appropriate ceramic is chosen to best suit the needs of the patient. Zirconia is a newer ceramic being used today that is very durable. It can be used in front or back crowns.

A crown can take as little as two visits (in some more complicated cases, it can take more). On the first visit the tooth is prepared for a crown. What this entails is reducing the tooth in all dimensions by 1-2 mm. An impression is made of the prepared tooth and a temporary crown placed on the tooth while the permanent crown is being fabricated. A shade is also taken as well as a bite registration in wax. The second visit is when the crown is finally cemented on the tooth.