A full crown (sometimes called a "cap"), is used to protect and strengthen teeth that have been broken or weakened by decay. Crowns are used both in the front and back of the mouth, giving your tooth the shape and contour of a natural tooth. The earliest crowns were made of metal alloys, usually containing some gold. As crowns evolved, tooth-colored materials were added to the front and tops of these metal crowns to improve the aesthetics.
Major improvements in crown technology have occurred over the last two decades. One such improvement is the all-ceramic crown, which contains no metal, making for a much more natural look. Because there is no metal, light passes through the crown, and the dark lines sometimes seen at the bottom of metal crowns are eliminated. And just as important, because of improved technology, the newer crowns are strong, and you can feel secure that your ceramic crown is as reliable and durable as a metal crown. Some types are so strong, they can safely be used in the back of the mouth where biting forces are much higher than in the front.
A variety of porcelains and reinforced ceramic materials (e.g., Empress, Emax, and Ceramic) have been combined to create these natural beauties. One type of all-ceramic crown can be created in our office in one visit using the CEREC machine. In other situations, we have them designed at a lab that specializes in one of the other types of reinforced all-ceramic crowns. Either way, a beautiful and natural look can be achieved without sacrificing strength and comfort. And in most cases, the crowns will blend in with your own teeth without anyone being the wiser.