Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.

Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth's function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal or to treat an existing cracked tooth or filling that is in jeopardy of fracturing. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.

Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants and can also serve an aesthetic use. Crowns are applied when a discolored, stained or broken tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.


A tooth must be reduced in size to accommodate a crown. A cast is made of the prepared tooth and an impression is taken. The impression is sent to a special lab, which manufactures a custom-designed crown. A temporary crown is applied until the permanent crown is ready. Permanent crowns are cemented in place at a second appointment.

Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are quite different. Veneers are thin, porcelain coverings that are typically applied only to the fronts of teeth to provide cosmetic correction.

Caring For Your Crowns

With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to floss in the area of the crown to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration.

Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.

Beverly A. Woss, DDS
9401 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 1140
Beverly Hills, CA