Crowns or caps (full coverage) completely cover the tooth on all sides. Crowns are used to repair teeth that have very large, failing fillings which can no longer be refilled, teeth with invasive fractures, teeth that have undergone root canals, teeth that have severe erosion, or extreme malposition. The use of crowns is essential in any situation that requires greater strength and aesthetics than a conventional filling can provide. Crowns are fabricated from ceramic or ceramic and metal, or even sometimes all metal, and can be indistinguishable from natural teeth.

There is a new technology available called CEREC. This is a method of fabricating individual crowns in one visit, eliminating the temporary phase. Utilizing cad/cam technology, computer aided design and manufacture, the prepared tooth is scanned digitally, and a computer aids in the fabrication of the porcelain crown, milling the permanent restoration in just a few minutes, on-site, eliminating a second visit.  This technology also is ideal for fabricating inlays and onlays, which are partial coverage crowns, preserving more of the natural tooth structure.  The fit is extremely accurate (tolerances of just a few microns).  

There are still some instances where a lab processed crown would be indicated, and this is still a valid option.  Lab processed crowns take two or three appointments so that your teeth can be prepared and impressions can be made. The impressions are used to fashion a porcelain crown that fits into the contour of the remaining teeth. While your permanent crowns are being created in a laboratory, you'll wear temporary crowns that maintain your appearance and ability to function. Often crowns are added to existing teeth to create better connecting surfaces for attachment of fixed bridges and partial dentures. The most common post treatment problems that can occur with any crown are fracture of porcelain, or extremely sticky foods that can dislodge the cement interface. Crowns have excellent durability, and are subject to the forces placed on them, like all restorations.  With normal wear and tear, crowns are a wonderful restorative option that can last a very long time.