The terms dental crowns and caps are synonymous. If dental decay, cracked fillings, root canals, clenching or grinding the teeth has caused extensive damage to the underlying tooth structure, a dental filling may not be a sufficient restoration. The only way to completely restore the cosmetic appearance and function of this tooth is often full coverage with a dental crown. This completed dental crown looks and feels like a natural tooth.

In addition to restoring a single natural tooth, crowns can be used in other situations including being the supportive ends of a dental bridge, covering dental implants or as coverage for a cracked tooth to prevent further breakdown. A crown may also be indicated when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance. Crowns can be made of many of the new ceramic materials that have been developed.