What Is A Dental Crown?

Bridges, implants, veneers, root canals…do dental terms and procedures have you wonder what’s going on? Would you know what your dentist meant if he or she said you needed an implant, a bridge, a cap, or a crown? Caps and crowns are dental terms that are used interchangeably. Today your northwest Indiana dentist, Dr. Nicholas Cain, is going to fill you in on the uses of the dental crown.

Crown Definition And Uses

A crown is a tooth shaped “cap” or covering that is placed over a damaged tooth to restore its strength, shape, size, appearance, and overall function. The crown is cemented over the damaged tooth and blends with the surrounding teeth. There are several reasons dentists use dental crowns, including:

  • Aesthetics: to cover a discolored or deformed tooth
  • To cover a tooth that has been worn down
  • To save and strengthen a tooth that requires a large filling
  • To hold together and strengthen a broken or cracked tooth
  • To replace a tooth as a dental implant
  • To use as supports on either side of a dental bridge

Types Of Crowns

Different types of crowns are used for different things. Dr. Cain offers the following types of crowns:

All-ceramic crowns: All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for aesthetic reasons. The white ceramic can be fabricated to match surrounding dentition. Due to their aesthetics, and because they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, all-ceramic crowns are often used on front teeth.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns: Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are fabricated of metal underneath then layered with porcelain. The porcelain is fabricated to match the surrounding dentition. They are strong and durable due to the metal and aesthetic due to the white, translucent porcelain. They can be used for front and back teeth. Certain circumstances such as cracks, chips, or receding gums can make the metal crown apparent.

Metal: Metal crowns are especially strong and long-lasting. They are used in the back of the mouth due to their strength, and because they do not blend aesthetically with the surrounding dentition.

Zirconia crowns: Zirconia crowns might be referred to as the king of crowns due their strength, durability, and natural appearance.

CEREC Crowns

With today’s CEREC technology, Dr. Cain can design and mill a crown, in –office, in a single visit. The CEREC utilizes 3D imaging and computer assisted design software to plan, mill, and place a custom-fitted porcelain or zirconia crown in the office. It reduces the number of visits by eliminating lab time, and the need for a temporary crown placement.


As a native of northwest Indiana, Nicholas Cain, DDS, is dedicated to providing excellent general, preventive, cosmetic, and family dentistry services to the community that raised him. To schedule your next dental appointment, call Healthy Smiles today at 219-938-2637.