A dental crown is a “cap” or a “cover” that is shaped like a tooth that dentists use to cover the tooth of a patient to protect it from any damage and improve the way it looks. It is one of the ideal ways to fix a broken tooth. A dental crown would help you in a variety of situations to have a healthy-looking set of teeth.

Following are some of the possible reasons why you would want to opt for a dental crown:

  • You want to restore a broken tooth that has worn down considerably.
  • You have a large cavity to fill and need support with a cap to hold the filling.
  • You want to cover discolored or badly shaped teeth so your smile can shine.
  • You want to protect a tooth that is weak from further breaking down.
  • You want to keep a dental bridge in place or cover a dental implant.
  • Protect your child’s teeth from the high risk of decay and damage. Pediatric dentists recommend stainless steel crowns in such situations.


Crowns can be made out of various types of materials. Some of them are porcelain, metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain fused to metal, composite resin or stainless steel. The material is often colored so that the crown matches your natural teeth.

At San Anselmo Family Dentistry, we want your crown to be a natural fit, look great, and feel comfortable. We will consider many factors before deciding which material will be the best fit for your needs. These include:

  • The location of the tooth and its function.
  • The position of gum tissue around the tooth.
  • Your needs, preference, and expectation.
  • The amount of exposure of the tooth when you smile.
  • The color tone of the tooth.


Based on the material, cost, and function, you can choose the type of crown you are most comfortable with.

Stainless steel: Used mostly for temporary purposes before a more permanent solution is in place, stainless steel crowns are cost-effective and can be installed in one sitting. They are used extensively in pediatric dentistry to prevent decay of primary teeth before it falls off along with the crown, and are replaced by permanent teeth.

Metals: Metal crowns are made of cobalt-chromium or nickel-chromium alloys, or alloys containing more platinum or gold, or any other base metal alloys. These can endure the biting and chewing that molars are exposed to making them a good candidate for the molars. Although they are sturdy, it may not be a good option if you have certain metal allergies. These crowns also show the metallic color, so they may not be a suitable option for visible teeth as opposed to the molars that are hidden at the back.

An orthodontist in San Anselmo looking at imaging of teeth


Porcelain-fused-to-metal: These dental crowns provide the benefits of both metal and porcelain. They provide the sturdiness of metal with its presence in the crown. The top layer is made of porcelain giving the crown a natural look by matching the surrounding teeth in color. But there is a possibility of the porcelain part chipping away and breaking. Also, in the case of receding gums, the metal in the porcelain crown might look like there is a dark line along the gum, which may not be as flattering.

All ceramic or porcelain: All ceramic crowns have no metal content in them, so they are safe for people who may have metal allergies. There is also no possibility of a black line along the gums, giving a better look. Although they are quite sturdy, there is a risk of breakage when subjected to pressure over a threshold. They match the original teeth well and can be used for both the front and back teeth.

All resin: Although these crowns are less expensive than the porcelain or ceramic crowns, they have a higher risk of breakage and chipping.


It typically takes two visits to your dentist to complete the treatment. Placing a crown over your natural tooth involves the following steps:

  • Your dentist will remove the outermost portion of the tooth to prepare it so that the crown will fit well. If there is a need to build up the core tooth to support the crown, he/she may use a filling to do so.
  • An impression is made to provide you with a model replica of the crown. A mold or a digital scan of the tooth is used to make the impression.
  • While you wait for a permanent crown to be made, you may be given a temporary stainless steel crown. The permanent one should be ready in about a couple of weeks. With a temporary crown, your tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold. Do not chew on sticky food like gums during this period.
  • Once the new and permanent crown is ready, your dentist installs it onto the destined tooth and makes the required adjustments. When both you and your dentist are satisfied with how the placement of the crown looks and feels, it is cemented into place.


Similar to natural teeth, crowns are subject to breakage. The tooth under the crown can decay. To best protect against cavities and damages, remember to brush your teeth two times a day and floss every day. Try not to chew on hard foods and objects. Have an appointment with your dentist for regular teeth cleaning and examination.

We, at the San Anselmo Family Dentistry, make it our commitment to provide the best possible care for your teeth. We have the expertise to cater to all kinds of needs. If you think that you could benefit from getting a crown, be sure to reach out to us. We will answer any questions that you may have so you can make an informed decision.