Dental crowns are by no means a modern technology. Humankind has been crafting ways of capping their teeth for a long, long time. In fact, the concept is believed to have been developed as early as 700 B.C. Restorative teeth modifications using gold were developed by the Etruscans according to historical findings. These modifications have continued to present day.
Caps protect teeth that need a bit of extra reinforcement. They are essentially a covering that is affixed over a tooth that needs that extra protection. Dental crowns have become quite a common solution for patients seeking out a dentist for oral discomfort and poor aesthetics.
Cosmetically, these caps can cover teeth that are discolored, chipped, broken or cracked. Think of them as a bonding solution for cracked teeth that need to be held together. This often happens when teeth become weak from tooth decay. Worn and broken teeth can be bonded using the same process. Fillings are another common issue. When they are put in, dental crowns are often added to provide an extra layer of reinforcement. The same is true for dental implants, another common dental procedure.
Primary teeth, or baby teeth as they are often referred to, also sometimes need to be capped with a dental crown. Pediatric dentists often use a stainless steel solution for children unable to participate in good oral practices or procedures due to a number of factors including age, behavior or medical history.
There are many types of material that can be used to create or fuse a solution for crowns. These include stainless steel, various alloys, gold, porcelain-metal fusion, resin or ceramic. Stainless steel options are mostly temporary, as another solution is being fabricated for use on the tooth or group of teeth. Gold, palladium or chromium solutions are also quite common and carry the benefit of less disruption or wearing of nearby teeth. Also less tooth structure needs to be modified or removed to put this kind of dental crown in. Unlike their metallic counterparts, porcelain-metal fusions are able to be color matched to the rest of your teeth, making for a more pleasing aesthetic approach to solving the problem. They most closely resemble regular teeth. People who have metal allergies might need to use all porcelain or all ceramic versions.
Colgate, the toothpaste manufacturer, points out that dental crowns and bridges can be used to improve the shape or alignment of teeth as well. If your teeth need strengthening, a crown may be your best bet.