The History of Dental Crowns

a group of smiling students learning about dental crowns

Dental crowns have been on the earth a lot longer than you might expect. While it’s no surprise that dental crowns have grown in viability and popularity over the years, there are still known remnants of the dental crown from our great, great ancestors. In other words, they have origins older than we can imagine. Luckily, the technology we use at Lee Trevino Dental to make crowns is newer and better than what was used back then. Still, it’s fun to take a stroll down memory lane, so shall we?

A Brief History of Dentistry and Dental Crowns

Before we talk about crowns, let’s talk about dentistry as a whole. Dentistry had a rocky beginning, causing many famous and powerful people to prematurely lose their teeth. George Washington, for example, is thought to have used wood in his dentures (they were actually made from various materials like cow teeth and ivory), but could you imagine being the first president of the United States and having cow teeth in your mouth? It’s crazy to believe that even with the origins of dentistry happening around 5000 BC, President Washington still had fake teeth.

Dentistry first popped up around 5000 BC when the Sumerians began dictating common dental problems, such as worms that caused tooth decay. Teeth continued to be studied for thousands of years. Even Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about and sought treatment for tooth decay. The dentistry profession didn’t arise until the Medieval times in China. By the end of the 1500s, the Father of Surgery, Ambrose Pare, added dentistry to his book: Complete Works.

By the time the 18th century rolled around, the idea of becoming a dentist began to gain more popularity, but not in the same way we have dentists today. The 19th and 20th centuries saw a science and health revolution that went far beyond those in previous centuries until the study of dentistry became how we know it today, including the invention of the crown.

How the Crown Came to Be

The crown, which is a cap used for dental restoration that completely surrounds a tooth or dental implant, dates back as far as 200 AD when the Etruscans used gold and other materials as crowns and bridges. This trend continued for hundreds of years.

The idea to use ceramics in dentistry first emerged in the late 1800s with the patented “jacket” crown. The jacket crown was a porcelain crown created by Charles H. Land. After improvements were made by E.B. Paulding, the jacket crown was introduced in the early 1900s and was used until the 1950s. The crown was effective, but didn’t last long because of microcracking, which happened during the cooling phase of fabrication and caused issues to the crown and underlying tooth or gum.

During the 1950s, Corning Glass Works created the Dicor crowns, which were cemented with zinc phosphate. Because of the cementation process, these crowns were prone to failing. In the 1990s, we saw the first crowns made without a metal base, a revolutionary movement in the crown business, including CAD/CAM dentistry, which makes computer generated 3D tooth restorations, and alumina, which is infused with glass.

Zirconia, a hard ceramic base used in tooth restorations, and leucite-reinforced, or Empress Crowns, which is another kind of common ceramic material used, also rose up to the top. The 1990s also saw a rise in cosmetic dentistry that made the crown even more popular than before.

Lee Trevino Dental Can Help

Nowadays, the crown is used for tooth restoration to repair damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. If you have issues with your teeth, whether they’re cosmetic or health-related, we can help! Call Lee Trevino Dental today to make an appointment!

Scroll to Top