In order to protect a tooth from breaking, hold a cracked tooth together, or restore a worn or broken tooth, dentists often recommend dental crowns to their patients. The crown itself is a cap contoured to the shape of the tooth. Both temporary and permanent crowns exist. Temporary crowns are usually made of acrylic or stainless steel, whereas permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory and may be manufactured from several different materials. Once cemented over the tooth by a dentist, most crowns stay in place permanently. 

Crowns can be fabricated from metal, resin, ceramics, porcelain, or a combination. Metal crowns offer the longest life and the best protection, but can be unsightly. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can be treated to match tooth color, but present a higher risk of breaking and cause wear on neighboring teeth. Crowns can also be made completely from resin, which is less expensive but also more prone to wear down, or ceramics or porcelain, which provide a realistic color, but are not as strong as porcelain-metal blends. Your dentist can recommend the type of crown that is best for your situation and your smile. 

About the Author: The owner of a private practice in New Rochelle, New York, Dr. Todd Wortman possesses more than a decade of experience in working with crowns and other dental prostheses. 
 

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