Crowns are used to restore a tooth to its natural size, shape and color after a large filling or crack in the tooth has compromised the tooth. Crowns are almost always placed after a root canal treatment because the tooth becomes weak and is likely to fracture. A crown will strengthen and protect what remains of the tooth and will improve your smile. Crowns are often made of all ceramic material.
In order for the crown to be placed on the tooth, 1-2mm of the tooth must be taken away and an impression must be made of the tooth. The impression is sent to a lab and your crown is fabricated there. If you have to wait on your crown, a temporary is placed on your tooth and will be replaced with your crown when it arrives. When the crown is placed on your tooth, sometimes it needs to be adjusted a little to make the proper fit. After it is adjusted it is cemented to your tooth and is a permanent solution.
An alternative to an implant is a fixed bridge. With this option it is necessary to grind down the teeth adjacent to the space in order to have caps fit onto the ground down teeth. The caps hold a fake replacement tooth in the middle. With this approach, the ground down teeth are more subject to dental decay and root canals. Furthermore, the teeth are connected together making daily hygiene more challenging. Unlike an implant, the bridge offers no additional biting support.
There is now new technology that allows you to replace old silver and gold fillings with a more natural looking, composite filling. Composite fillings are bonded to the tooth and research has proven them to be about 90% as strong and healthy as natural tooth material.