What Are Dental Crowns Made Of? | Everything You Need To Know

Dental crowns, often referred to simply as caps, are crucial components of modern dentistry, offering solutions to a variety of dental issues such as restoring damaged teeth, improving aesthetics, and enhancing functionality. Understanding what dental crowns are made of is essential to appreciate their versatility and effectiveness in dental care. This article delves into the materials used in dental crowns, their construction, and the benefits they provide to patients.

What are Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are prosthetic devices that cover or cap a damaged or decayed tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength, and improve its appearance. They are custom-made to fit over the entire tooth, from the gum line upwards, encasing the visible portion of the tooth when placed. Crowns are cemented into place, becoming a permanent fixture that protects and supports the underlying tooth structure.

Materials Used in Dental Crowns

Metal Crowns: 

Metal alloys such as gold, platinum, or base metal alloys (like cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium alloys) have been traditionally used in dental crowns due to their strength and durability. Gold crowns, in particular, are known for their longevity and biocompatibility. They are less likely to wear down opposing teeth and are suitable for patients who grind their teeth.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Crowns: 

PFMs combine the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain. A metal base is fabricated to fit over the prepared tooth, and porcelain is fused over it to mimic the natural color and translucency of adjacent teeth. This combination provides a strong restoration with a natural appearance, making it a popular choice for both front and back teeth.

All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns: 

These crowns are entirely made of porcelain or ceramic materials, offering superior aesthetics compared to metal-based crowns. They can be color-matched to blend seamlessly with the natural teeth, making them ideal for front teeth restorations where aesthetics are paramount. Modern advancements in ceramics have also improved their strength, making them suitable for use in posterior teeth.

Zirconia Crowns: 

Zirconia crowns are a type of all-ceramic crown known for their exceptional strength and durability. Zirconia is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium and exhibits properties similar to metals in terms of strength, making it suitable for crowns in areas of high bite pressure. They are highly biocompatible and offer excellent aesthetics due to their tooth-colored appearance.

Construction of Dental Crowns

The construction of dental crowns involves several steps to ensure a precise fit and optimal functionality:

  1. Preparation of the Tooth: Before a crown can be placed, the tooth receiving the crown is prepared by reducing its size. This involves shaping the tooth to accommodate the crown, removing any decayed or damaged portions, and ensuring a stable base for the crown to sit on.
  2. Impression Taking: Once prepared, an impression or mold of the tooth and surrounding teeth is taken. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the crown will be fabricated. The accuracy of the impression is crucial to ensure the crown fits perfectly over the prepared tooth.
  3. Temporary Crown Placement: While the permanent crown is being fabricated, a temporary crown may be placed over the prepared tooth. This temporary crown protects the tooth from sensitivity and damage until the permanent crown is ready.
  4. Crown Fabrication: In the dental laboratory, skilled technicians use the impression to create a custom crown that matches the shape, size, and color requirements specified by the dentist. The choice of material (metal, porcelain, or zirconia) determines the fabrication process used.
  5. Cementation of the Crown: Once the permanent crown is ready, it is checked for fit and color match. The dentist then cements the crown onto the prepared tooth using dental cement, ensuring a secure and permanent attachment.

Benefits of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns offer numerous benefits to patients, both functionally and aesthetically:

  1. Restoration of Functionality: Crowns restore the shape and size of damaged teeth, allowing for normal chewing and biting functions. They provide structural support to weak or fractured teeth, preventing further damage.
  2. Protection and Strength: Crowns cover and protect teeth that have undergone root canal treatment or are severely decayed. They help to prevent further decay and fractures, prolonging the lifespan of the tooth.
  3. Improved Aesthetics: Porcelain and ceramic crowns can be color-matched to blend seamlessly with natural teeth. This ensures a natural-looking smile and boosts confidence in patients.
  4. Longevity and Durability: Depending on the material used, dental crowns are known for their durability and longevity. With proper care and regular dental hygiene practices, crowns can last for many years.
  5. Versatility: Crowns are versatile and can be used for various dental restorations, including covering dental implants, anchoring dental bridges, and enhancing the appearance of misshapen or discolored teeth.

Considerations and Maintenance

While dental crowns are highly beneficial, there are considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Sensitivity and Adjustment Period: After crown placement, some patients may experience sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. This typically subsides once the tooth adjusts to the new crown.
  2. Regular Oral Hygiene: Proper oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups, is essential to maintain the health of crowned teeth and prevent gum disease.
  3. Avoiding Habits That Can Damage Crowns: Patients should avoid chewing hard objects such as ice or using teeth as tools to prevent damaging the crown or dislodging it.
  4. Professional Care: Regular visits to the dentist are necessary to monitor the condition of crowned teeth and ensure early detection of any issues that may arise.


Dental crowns play a vital role in modern dentistry, offering durable solutions for restoring damaged teeth and enhancing smiles. The choice of materials, including metal alloys, porcelain, and advanced ceramics like zirconia, allows for customized treatments that prioritize both function and aesthetics. Understanding the construction process and benefits of dental crowns empowers patients to make informed decisions about their oral health care and a professional dentist can better guide a patient about which one will be the best for them or you can contact NYC Dental Lounge for the best consultation. By preserving natural teeth and restoring their functionality, dental crowns contribute to improved dental health and overall well-being.