So today I got two crowns installed on my teeth. I've been going around for about three weeks with temporary crowns, big scratchy cement-like things that constantly felt on the verge of breaking into bits with every chomp. These permanent ones are much nicer, and the technology behind them is quite impressive.
They're shaped like little caps that are glued over a reduced version of your original tooth. The outside is ceramic, and formed from a cast that matches your old teeth closely. The inside is a shiny mirror of precious metals. The ceramic isn't very strong by itself, but according to the dentist, when it's combined with the metal it reacts and becomes amazingly hard.
The shiny underside also serves another purpose. The bonding agent (which starts as a liquid and a powder that are mixed together just before application) reacts with the metal to form a molecular bond, securing the tooth in place like hell. The glue is dual-purpose also. It contains traces of fluoride, to help any surrounding exposed tooth be resistant to decay.
The technology is fascinating - and a lot more complicated than I ever thought it could be.
And now, I go eat a cookie!!