A crown, sometimes referred to as a cap, is a restoration for a tooth usually fabricated by indirect methods in a dental laboratory and later bonded into place. Crowns are usually used to restore teeth that have insufficient remaining tooth structure to reliably retain filling material or withstand chewing and biting forces without the added support the crown supplies. They are also used by dentists to support bridges and removable partial dentures needed to replace missing teeth.
Most teeth to be crowned are prepared by a dentist and records are given to a dental technician to fabricate the crown which can then be inserted at a subsequent appointment. Between visits, a provisional crown is made and worn to protect the tooth and surrounding tissues, maintain chewing ability and preserve esthetics.
The most common materials for crowns are cast gold, porcelain veneered over a gold substructure or all ceramic without any gold framework. As new technology and material science evolve, computers are increasingly becoming a part of crown and bridge fabrication. Dental restorations are increasingly made using CAD/CAM technology.