The term "crown" is used to describe the portion of your tooth that extends above the gumline - in other words, the portion of the tooth that can be seen in a healthy mouth. It is also used more colloquially to describe the dental procedure of having a prosthetic "crown" placed over a decayed, chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged tooth.
IWith this dental procedure code, the prosthetic crown is completely constructed of either porcelain or ceramic, but only covers 3/4 of the tooth's overall surface. Each of these two materials mirrors the look and luminescence of your natural teeth, and your dentist can help you decide on your best option given your budget and the health of your teeth. Aside from getting a great color match, this type of crown has the added benefit of bonding more securely with your tooth than traditional most metals. Other options for 3/4 crowns include those of high noble metal, noble metal, and base metal.
With a 3/4 ceramic/porcelain crown, the entire biting surface of the tooth is covered with either ceramic or porcelain, along with a portion of the tooth that rests alongside the tongue. To enhance the existing integrity of the tooth, the healthy portion of the tooth that faces your cheek (and is visible when smiling), is left intact.
To prepare for this type of fitting, a dentist will first remove any decayed or weakened areas of the tooth, and reduce its overall shape to accommodate the crown. A mold of your bite will then be made, so the custom crown can be fabricated off-site at a dental lab. If desired, a temporary crown can be fitted until the custom crown is completed.
Once the custom crown arrives at the dentist's office, any temporary crown used as a place-holder will be removed, and you will be fitted with the new crown.