If you have heard about dental crowns but do not yet have one, then you must be wondering just exactly what they are and what they are used for.

Dental Crown Basics

Dental crowns, also called "caps" in some areas of the country, are machine made covers which are made for damaged or decayed teeth. To make a crown, the dentist takes an impression of a decayed tooth using a rubber material, and then sends it off to a specialized dental lab who will manufacture the crown.

Dental crowns are made of:

  • Porcelain
  • Metal
  • A Porcelain and Metal Combination

The material that your crown is made of depends largely on cost and the type of crown that your dentist believes will work the best for your situation. Crowns that are made of porcelain are matched to the coloration of the rest of your teeth. 

The 4 Applications of Dental Crowns 

Dental crowns are commonly used in four different dental applications:

  1. Restoration of tooth shape for bite alignment.
  2. Strengthening of damaged teeth. 
  3. Cosmetic purposes.
  4. As anchors for a dental appliance. 

Tooth Shape Restoration

When a tooth is out of its proper shape, this can cause problems with bite alignment. Problems with bite alignment can further cause issues with jaw pain and function. For this reason, dentists will often place a dental crown on a tooth that has become out of alignment due to dental diseases such as periodontal disease. In this case the crown is meant to help restore the shape of the tooth to protect the overall bite and jaw.

Damaged Tooth Strengthening

Teeth that are damaged by a lot of decay often do not have enough surface area left for a filling to be applied. In this case, a dentist will opt to cap the tooth using a crown. The crown will keep the tooth from breaking or cracking during chewing and eating.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Dental crowns are often used on front teeth where cosmetics are an issue. Decay in front teeth is often hard to treat with a filling, and can leave your teeth with abnormal coloration. For these reasons, a dentist often will apply a dental crown.

Dental Appliance Anchoring

A dental partial often needs two teeth that it can anchor to. One way that dentists often accomplish this task is to apply crowns to the teeth on either side of the new partial's location. 


Now you have a clear understanding of what a dental crown is, and how a crown is commonly used in dentistry. If you have any questions about any dental procedure, contact Simanek Milan DDS & Associates