In regards to natural, normal tooth structure and dental restorations, the term “crown” refers to the portion of the tooth that can be seen above the gingival (gum) tissues. Crowns are fixed (non-removable) prosthodontic restorations, which may serve as a single unit for one tooth, part of a multi-unit bridge, or as the final restoration over a dental implant.

There are several indications for crown restorations, including:

  1. Excessive tooth structure due to decay
  2. To restore a  cracked tooth that is structurally unstable
  3. To protect an  endondontically (root canal)-treated tooth
  4. To replace  missing teeth where implants have been placed

Crowns come in several different materials including gold (cast metal), stainless steel, porcelain fused to metal, porcelain ceramic, and zirconia. Today, most of the crowns manufactured are some variation of porcelain ceramic or zirconia because these types are aesthetically superior and durable. Even with the vast amount of technology available today, it is important to remember that restoring crowns is a very technique sensitive procedure that requires the dentist to have excellent hand skills and attention to detail in order to provide a restoration that can last for years.