A crown is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth (usually caused by not brushing one’s teeth well enough). They are typically bonded to the tooth using dental cement. Crowns can be made from many materials, which are usually fabricated using indirect methods. Crowns are often used to improve the strength or appearance of teeth. While unarguably beneficial to dental health, the procedure and materials can be relatively expensive.
The most common method of crowning a tooth involves using a dental impression of a prepared tooth by a dentist to fabricate the crown outside of the mouth. The crown can then be inserted at a subsequent dental appointment. Using this indirect method of tooth restoration allows the use of strong restorative materials requiring time consuming fabrication methods and intense heat, such as casting metal or firing porcelain which would not be possible to complete inside the mouth. Because of the expansion properties, the relatively similar material costs, and the aesthetic benefits, some patients may choose to have their crown fabricated with gold.