Crowns are tooth-colored caps that enclose an entire tooth. Dentists often use them to reinforce a weak structure or restore function to a tooth that is severely damaged by decay or trauma. Crowns are also used to hide discoloration and imperfections, lengthen a short tooth, close minor gaps between teeth, cover dental implants, replace large fillings, keep a bridge in place, and restore a tooth after a root canal.
Crowns are made of porcelain, metal, composite resin, or a combination of these materials. Metal and alloys make the strongest and most durable crowns, so they are often used for back teeth. However, all-metal crowns stand out. A good compromise is porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, where the metal is covered by tooth-colored porcelain.