When a tooth is broken or badly decayed, or large older fillings need replacing, a dental crown is usually the recommended solution.
A crown can attach directly to the remainder of a tooth once any decay is removed, or an implant can be installed to provide a permanent anchor for the crown. (An implant is a screw surgically attached to the jawbone to secure restorations or dentures; restorations are fillings, crowns and bridges.)
The most common types of crowns are full porcelain, porcelain fused to metal and full metal crowns. Each has distinct advantages. Metal tends to be more durable while porcelain can match any tooth shade almost identically. It is the material of choice for teeth replaced that are not visible when talking or smiling. The porcelain fused to metal is a combination that attempts to capture the best traits of both: natural appearance and durability. The full porcelain crowns have the most natural appearance and are best suited for use in the front of the mouth where teeth are most visible.