A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth which has been prepared by a dentist, to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance.
Metal crowns: These crowns, which are made entirely of metal, are beneficial because they allow you to keep more of your own tooth. They are silver in color so they are conspicuous, especially when placed in the front facing teeth or when laughing and talking.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal: This crown has metal at its center but it is covered by a porcelain shell. It allows for the strength offered by a metal crown but has the added benefit of improved appearance.
Resin: This is an inexpensive option that can match the color of your teeth. You should keep in mind that resin crowns are the weakest dental crown available.
Ceramic or porcelain: With this crown, you can get the closest match to your tooth color. There is no metal in the center of this crown, so the ideal tooth color will remain for the life of the crown. It’s the best option to consider as far as the aesthetics are concerned.
Two visits to the dentist usually suffice. At the first visit, the tooth to receive the crown is examined. X-rays are taken of the tooth and bone around it. Then tooth impressions are taken to adjust the bite and sent to the laboratory. At the second visit, the permanent crown is placed.
An all-metal crown is made entirely of metal and will be very strong but will not blend in well with your other teeth. A porcelain-fused-to-metal crown consists of a layer of metal that is topped with a porcelain tooth “cap.” It is considered the “gold standard” of crowns, because it is very strong and durable and looks like a natural tooth. But if you are allergic to metal, or have another reason why metal-containing crowns won’t work for you, talk with your dentist about the option of getting an all-ceramic, metal-free crown.