What Is a Dental Crown?

Published Date: Updated Date: Reading Time: 5 min 0 Comment
What Is a Dental Crown?

Table of contents

  1. What Is a Dental Crown?
  2. What Does a Dental Crown Look Like?
  3. Why Might I Need a Crown?
  4. Can Children Have Crowns?
  5. What Types of Crown are Available?
    1. Stainless Steel Crowns
    2. Metal Crowns
    3. Porcelain Fused to Metal
    4. All-Resin Crowns
    5. All-Porcelain

If you’ve been advised that you need a dental crown, or are simply interested in dentistry and dental health, chances are, you’re here to find out some dental crown basics, including a little information on what types of crowns are available. The good news? We can provide you with all of this information! Read on to find out everything you need to know about dental crowns!

What Is a Dental Crown?

Let’s start with the absolute basics and explain exactly what a dental crown is. Put simply, a dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that can be placed over a tooth for a variety of reasons. You may have a crown to restore a damaged tooth’s shape and size, to support a damaged tooth and to give it strength, or simply to improve the appearance of a damaged tooth. If you don’t have any tooth damage or decay, chances are, you won’t find yourself in need of a dental crown. But if you have experienced damage or decay, or a standard dental procedure such as a root canal to repair damage or decay, you may find that your dentist recommends a crown for one of the above reasons.

What Does a Dental Crown Look Like?

As we’ve noted, a crown is a cap that covers your tooth. But what does it actually look like? Well, a dental crown simply looks like a normal tooth. When it has been cemented in place, it will fully cover the whole of the visible section of your tooth – this is all of your tooth that is exposed above your gum line.

Why Might I Need a Crown?

As we’ve noted, crowns are often used to improve strength, appearance or to essentially rebuild a damaged tooth. But let’s look a little closer into why you might need a crown. Here are a few examples:

  • Your tooth is broken, cracked, or weak and at risk of becoming broken or cracked. A crown will hold the cracked parts of your tooth together.
  • You have a broken tooth that is missing parts or significantly worn down. In this instance, a crown would be used to restore this tooth.
  • You have a tooth with a large filling and not much of the original tooth left. A crown will support the tooth that remains.
  • You have a dental bridge that needs to be held in place.
  • You have misshapen or severely discoloured teeth and braces or whitening may not work for you. A crown will cover the natural tooth up.
  • You have had dental implants. The crown will cover this.

Can Children Have Crowns?

While crowns are much less common in children, they can be used to help to save teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay and teeth that can’t support fillings. A crown can also be used for children who have regular dental problems to rectify problems while minimising the amount of anesthesia that the child is being given and that may be used in alternative treatments.

What Types of Crown are Available?

Of course, there are many types of crown available. Each comes hand in hand with different pros and cons, so take a look at the options below to determine which will be right for you if you are planning on having a crown.

Stainless Steel Crowns

Let’s start with one of the most commonly used forms of crown – stainless steel crowns. Why are they the most commonly used crown material? Well, because they’re usually used as a stepping stone. A stainless steel crown is often put over the tooth as a temporary crown while a permanent crown is crafted from other materials. Stainless steel is easy to keep clean and is durable enough to last until the permanent crown is created.

Metal Crowns

Metals used in permanent crowns tend to be alloys containing a high gold content, platinum content, or alloys from other base metals, such as cobalt-chromium or nickel-chromium alloys. These metal crowns tend to be tough, meaning that they can withstand years of biting and chewing. They are some of the longest lasting crowns and rarely chip or break. They can take years to wear down at all. A con that comes hand in hand with metal crowns? They’re clearly crowns rather than natural teeth. Their colour doesn’t give the illusion of naturally healthy teeth. As a result, people will often only have metal crowns on molars that are out of sight.

Porcelain Fused to Metal

Unlike metal crowns, porcelain fused to metal crowns can be colour matched to the surrounding teeth, meaning that they can give the appearance of a natural tooth. The downside? The porcelain section of the crown can sometimes chip or break off, meaning more dental work to replace it. Plus, these crowns wear on adjacent teeth a little more than metal crowns too. If you happen to suffer from receding gums, the metal portion of the crown may show, which is why many people tend to opt for these types of crowns towards the back of their mouths.

All-Resin Crowns

All resin crowns are often the cheapest dental crowns, which makes them popular with those who are operating on a tighter budget. The problem with all resin crowns? They do wear down more quickly than other crown types, which can result in breaks and fractures, meaning they need to be replaced. Weigh up your options when considering all resin crowns, as they may save you money right now, but could see multiple replacements being carried out, making them cost as much as (or more than) opting for other more durable options in the first place.


You can also get crowns made entirely from porcelain. People tend to like these as they can be colour matched to your natural teeth and often give the most natural looking results. They are also a great option for people who suffer from allergies to some of the types of metal that are used in other metal crowns. These tend to be a particularly popular option for front teeth.

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about crowns. Hopefully, some of the above information will help you to find the perfect crown to suit your needs.



What Are Crowns Made Of. (2018, September 27). Penn Dental Medicine. https://penndentalmedicine.org/what-are-dental-crowns-made-of/ Fact Sheet. Needham, MA: 1994. National Youth Sports Safety Foundation.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.