Sometimes teeth get damaged. It is a fact of life. Even those that take extra careful care of their teeth may someday face a situation where a tooth becomes so damaged it cannot survive on its own. However, that is why crowns exist.

They allow damaged teeth to avoid being pulled out altogether and can often preserve the life of a tooth indefinitely. Read on for some background on why crowns are an important part of a dentist’s arsenal, especially as patients age.

What is a crown?

Dental crowns are a metal cap that completely encase a tooth or even a dental implant. The most common scenario that calls for a crown is when a large cavity threatens the health of a tooth.

These teeth are typically glued together with a special kind of cement and then the crown is installed over the top of the tooth. People with “gold teeth” usually have some sort of crown, though the material used to create the crown can vary depending on the patient’s preferences.

How is the crown made?

Usually, dental crowns are made by taking a mold of a tooth using a dental impression. That impression will then be used to create the crown, which is often made of some sort of casting metal or porcelain.

Oftentimes, patients will opt for a porcelain material if they want the crown to remain inconspicuous. Those who want a little more flair in their mouth might choose gold. Once the crown has been fabricated, it will have to be installed on a subsequent visit. While crowns used to be hand fabricated, computer technology is now being used to make more accurate and better-fitting crowns.


Crowns are a long-term solution and can often last around a decade or more. If the proper care is taken, crowns have been known to last 50 years. The most important thing to remember when trying to increase the longevity of dental crowns is to keep up with good oral hygiene. Even a well-made crown cannot last if food debris and bacteria are constantly attacking it.

Another reason that people might choose gold for their crown is that gold crowns are formed out of a single piece of gold and therefore have the longest average longevity. Crowns that are made of porcelain fused to metal have the advantage of looking more natural but can be quite frail compared with the gold option. In the end, it is up to the patient to weight the risk and decide what is more important. 

Robert Seitzinger is a copywriter for Greg A Williams, a dentist in Tigard. Learn more about Tigard dental for the family on their homepage.