Crowns were developed to add strength to a compromised tooth. Teeth with root canals, large fillings or craze lines and cracks should be treated with a crown. Your dentist will evaluate each tooth on a case by case basis and give his recommendations for when a crown should and should not be placed. If majority of a tooth chips or breaks the best option is a crown. In cases like this a filling or bonding will not be sufficient.
Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, full gold and zirconia, amount many other options. Your dentist will asses your teeth and other factors such as how you bite your teeth together, if you clench or grind your teeth and the colour and aesthetics of the surrounding teeth.
The process of installing a crown takes 2-3 visits. On the first visit the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic before this part of the procedure so that you do not experience any discomfort. Once the tooth has been reshaped, a mold will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This mold will be sent to a dental lab so that your new crown can be made so that it fits in the spot created for it and looks the same relative to the surrounding teeth. Before leaving, your dentist will fit you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready.
The crown takes about 4-5 weeks to be returned to your dentist. At this time you will have another appointment to place and fit the permanent crown. You will again have a local anesthetic to numb the area and the tooth will be placed using a cement to ensure the tooth sets in place. When you look in the mirror, you will see your old smile back. Crowns are durable and will usually last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth with regular brushing and flossing.