A crown (“cap”) is a type of dental restoration that fully cups over that portion of a tooth or dental implant that lies at and above the gum line. Crowns are used to cover, protect and restore the shape of your teeth when fillings aren’t the solution to the problem. They can be made out of metals, resin, porcelain and ceramics. Typically they do not require any ongoing special care other than regular good oral hygiene.

Once placed, it in effect becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.  This is in comparison to a dental filling which just fills in or repairs a portion of a tooth.

Crowns are permanently cemented into place. The tooth-crown unit, that is created, functions and is cared for just like a natural tooth. Crowns are usually needed if you have a damaged or weakened tooth that cannot be fixed with a filling.

In dental terms, the clinical crown of a tooth is that portion which is covered with tooth enamel and projects through the gums into the mouth (i.e., the part you can see, as compared to the root).


The dentist examines and prepares the tooth that needs the crown. This might involve taking X-rays of the tooth. They also may take an impression of your tooth or mouth beforehand. Your dentist will remove part of the outer layer of the tooth to ensure the crown fits correctly with your bite. The impression will then be sent to a local laboratory for the crown to be made. Once made, the dentist will fit the crown for you at the practice.

Crowns can repair and strengthen damaged teeth. They are also known to improve tooth appearance, including colour, shape and even apparent alignment.  It can also protect the tooth against further decay and fewer dental appointments are needed as dental crowns require little time to be completed, compared to other options of treatment.

Onlays and 3/4 crowns are another type of dental crowns that don’t cover as much of your underlying tooth as the traditional dental crowns.

An onlay is a smaller tooth-shaped cap that is also used to protect and restore the shape size and appearance of the tooth but unlike a crown (which covers all of the tooth) an onlay covers the ‘biting/chewing’ part of the tooth.

Onlays and 3/4 crowns may be appropriate when you still have a solid tooth structure.  Your dentist will remove the affected area and perform a reshaping of the tooth to receive the crown.


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