A crown is a type of dental-restoration device that is used to give form and strength to a tooth that is still viable but has suffered extensive damage.

Crowns may be used individually, for example, after performing a root canal, or in conjunction with other structures, such as when used on top of a dental implant or an all on 4 solution.

Unlike fillings, a dental crown is normally prepared in a dental laboratory from a mold taken by the dentist.  The materials can be porcelain, zirconia, gold, stainless steel, composite, or in combinations of metal and porcelain.


These are dental prosthetic devices that are used to replace missing teeth that have been lost, commonly to periodontal disease or trauma.

Bridges are structures that are attached to the teeth on both sides of the gap, and typically contain a crown (a false tooth called a pontic) in the middle or another structure that replaces the missing tooth.

Bridges are most often used in cases where the teeth on the sides of the gap need some work, when the person can’t wait or doesn’t want to wait for options that take much longer (and may be more expensive), for example, implants, or in cases where surgery is not an option.


When preparing a tooth for a filling, the decayed dental tissue must first be removed to ensure retention and resistance. Afterwards, a filling material like amalgam, gold or composite is chosen and is applied directly to the tooth.  Amalgam fillings are the old reliable and strong material, but cannot bond with the tooth — they merely rest on it and need undercuts to hold them in place.  Undercutting removes some of the healthy tooth, and that can lead to weakening and future cracks.  And they contain mercury.  Composite tooth-colored fillings are safe, reliable and long-lasting.  Plus, they look great.  With modern techniques, they bond very well to the tooth – even to a flat surface – meaning the dentist can place a very conservative restoration, removing just enough of the decayed and weakened tooth structure to make a strong restoration, and thus preserving more of your healthy tooth structure.


If a tooth is damaged too greatly to support a filling but not damaged enough to need a dental crown, we need a solution somewhere in the middle — Inlays and onlays.  They are usually made of a solid substance such as gold, porcelain or less often a cured composite resin, and fitted into a cavity in a tooth (inlay) or covering the top of a tooth (onlay) and cemented into place.


Dentists don’t want to cap a damaged tooth with a dental crown unnecessarily because that removes much of the healthy portion of the tooth. On the other hand, a large dental filling can weaken the remaining structure of the tooth, and that can result in the tooth cracking, breaking, and even eventually needing a root canal.  Dental inlays and onlays solve the problem – they are designed to restore large cavities without having to use a crown.

If you are interested in restorative dental treatments in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.