A tooth crown also called a dental cap, is a hollow, artificial tooth used to cover a damaged or decayed tooth. The crown restores the tooth and protects it from further damage. A crown can also be used to cover a discoloured or misshapen tooth. Once a permanent crown made in the dental laboratory and placed over the prepared tooth, it looks and works very much like a natural tooth.


Tooth caps and crowns for teeth are made from various types of materials. Depending on which tooth needs a tooth crown, our dentist will suggest a material, or a combination, that will be right for you.

A crown is required for a damaged but not lost tooth. A crown will restore tooth shape, and it's appearance and function. You might need a tooth cap if you had a root canal treatment on that tooth, a large filling, chipped or broken part of the damaged tooth.

Dental crown services

Choosing your custom dental crown requires attention to details. The shade of white, translucency for natural tooth appearance, the shape of your crown cap are just a few examples.

Types of crowns:

Composite Crowns

While composite crowns will match natural teeth colour, they are not always ideal for strength and durability. They won’t chip as easily as porcelain crowns, but they tend to wear more quickly from chewing. Teeth brushing tends to remove the highly polished surface of composite crowns, and this causes them to stain more easily. 

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns (ceramic crowns) provide a very natural look and are an excellent option for people with metal allergies.  When restoring front teeth, where appearance is a primary concern, porcelain crowns are usually the best solution. Because back teeth require more strength for chewing, you may need to have porcelain fused to metal crowns for added durability.

Porcelain fused to metal crowns

Porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM) look natural and are stronger than porcelain or composite crowns. Porcelain fused to metal crowns consist of a metal inner shell and porcelain outer shell fused. The metal shell provides the crown with extra resilience and strength and porcelain gives the crown a natural appearance. PFM crowns can be an excellent option for people who grind their teeth (bruxism).


The difference between temporary crowns in dentistry is that they are made in our Burlington dentist office and permanent crowns are made in the dental laboratory. The purpose of a temporary crown is to protect remaining of the tooth while a permanent crown is ready. It takes approximately two to three weeks for a permanent crown to be made by our dental laboratory. Each dental laboratory has a dentist list that they are working with to manufacture permanent crowns.

How does a dental crown work?

When you are told that you need a crown, this is what you should expect. To prepare a tooth for a crown usually requires two separate visits to the dentist.

First visit

On your first visit is our dentist examines and prepares the tooth. The examination may involve taking a few x rays. The dentist requires x rays to check the roots of the tooth that needs a crown as well as making sure there is no infection in the surrounding bone. A root canal treatment may be required before crown placement, if a tooth has an extensive cavity or if there is a risk of infection to the tooth nerve and blood vessels (tooth pulp).

If a tooth is ready for crown preparation, our dentist will numb (anesthetize) the gum tissue and the tooth.

The dentist then files down the chewing surface and sides of the damaged tooth to make room for the crown. The amount of removed tooth surface depends on the type of crown used and severity of the decay to that tooth. If decay is so extensive that filed down tooth is smaller then required surface for the future crown, then a dentist uses dental filling material to "build up" a tooth. This build-up provides proper support for the crown. A post may be used to add additional support if needed.

After the tooth structure is prepared, the next step is to take an impression of the tooth for a dental laboratory to manufacture a new crown, based on the prepared surface. The purpose of the impression is to create a mould for the crown as well as make sure that the crown will not affect your bite and sitting just like your natural tooth would.

The impressions are then sent to the dental laboratory where a permanent crown will be made. If the crown is made out of porcelain material, our dentist will also select a custom shade most closely matching the colour of your adjacent teeth.

During your first visit, our dentist will make a temporary crown to protect and cover a prepared tooth. This temporary crown help in place with temporary cement.

Second visit

On your second visit, our dentist will remove a temporary crown. The fit of your permanent crown is then checked to make sure that it fits and that is appropriately sitting below the gum line. If everything is acceptable, our Burlington dentist will permanently cement your new crown in place.

To extend the life of a tooth and the crown, you need to follow your regular oral hygiene routine. This includes daily routine at home (brushing and flossing) as well as hygiene visits. During the hygiene visits, our hygienist removes calcified plaque, tartar build-up and bacteria that otherwise can not be removed during your regular brushing and flossing. Oral health is a life long need, just like your overall health, and it needs to be regularly maintained.

Cosmetic Dentistry Crown after placement

Once your tooth cap was placed, sometimes it takes some getting used to before the permanent crown feels normal in your mouth. After a short period, your new dental crown should function and feel like your natural tooth. Let us know if you still have any questions about your crown.