Cast metal crown restoration (“caps”) of fractured teeth is often recommended after root canal therapy, especially in animals that are likely to continue to damage the tooth. Dogs who perform bite work are among the most common to get a recommendation for a crown. A cast metal crown is used because it is more durable than a more cosmetic, tooth colored crown like is used in people.
Crown restoration is a two-step process. The first step occurs after root canal therapy during the first anesthetic episode by shaping the tooth to create retention for the crown. Impressions of the prepared tooth and occlusion with adjacent teeth are made and sent to a dental laboratory that specializes in casting crowns. The crowns are custom-made for each dog from the impressions, a process that usually takes about two weeks. Typically the crowns are made with a metal alloy that is silver in color.
The second step is cementing (luting) the crown to the tooth. This requires a second, shorter anesthesia and a permanent cement is used to bond the crown to the tooth.