A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth. Crowns are used to cover a tooth in order to restore its size, shape, strength, and to help improve its appearance. Crowns are also commonly used to cover large fillings, hold dental bridges in place and to cover dental implants.

For children, a crown may be used on primary (baby) teeth in order to protect teeth at high risk for tooth decay, or save a tooth that has been damaged and cannot support a filling.

There are four different dental crown materials:

All porcelain crowns are a good option for individuals who have a metal allergy. Although porcelain crowns aren’t as strong as metal crowns, they look just like natural teeth. All porcelain crowns make a great replacement for front teeth.

Metal is a great choice for out of sight crowns. They’re strong, very little tooth structure needs to be removed to put them in place and they rarely crack or chip. The only real downside is that the coloration looks nothing like the rest of your teeth.

Porcelain fused to metal crowns look the most like real teeth, but they cause wear and tear to neighboring teeth. In addition, the porcelain part can be chipped or broken. Lastly, the metal part can sometimes show as a dark line in the tooth, particularly if the gums start to recede.

Resin crowns are very inexpensive, but they wear down easily. They also have a tendency to chip more than any other kind of crown.