Crowns « Dental World

Crowns

Rather like veneers, crowns can be used to change the colour and shape of your existing teeth to give you a dramatically new smile. They are used rather than veneers when the tooth is more broken down and fragile. The crown covers the whole of the tooth and protects and strengthens it. There are various types of crown. Some have a metal sub-frame and others are purely porcelain. We will advise you which are the most appropriate to achieve the best result for you. Crowns are sometimes also known as ‘caps’.

Great cosmetics – a new tooth from nothing
Long-lasting – covers and protects what is left of your tooth

Why would I need a crown?

There are a number of reasons. For instance:

  • the tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling
  • you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
  • you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it
  • you may have had an accident and damaged the tooth
  • it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.

What are crowns made of?

Crowns are made of a variety of materials and new materials are being introduced all the time. Here are some of the options available at present:

  • Porcelain bonded to metal is the most common material, especially at the back of the mouth where biting forces are greater
  • At the front of the mouth purely porcelain crowns bonded strongly to your teeth may also be possible to create enhanced aesthetics

How is a tooth prepared for a crown?

The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will mean removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner ‘core’. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown to be fitted. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The impressions will be given to the technician, along with any other information they need to make the crown.

Who makes the crown?

The impressions and information about the shade of your teeth will be given to a dental technician who will be skilled in making crowns. They will make models of your mouth and make the crown on these to be sure that the crown fits perfectly.

Will the crown be noticeable?

No. The crown will be made to match your other teeth exactly. The shade of the neighbouring teeth will be recorded, to make sure that the colour looks natural and matches the surrounding teeth. A temporary crown, usually made in plastic, will be fitted at the end of the
first appointment to last until the permanent one is ready. These temporary crowns may be more noticeable, but they are only in place for about two weeks.

How long does the treatment take?

You will need to have at least two visits: the first for the preparation, impression, shade taking and fitting the temporary crown, and the second to fit the permanent crown.

Does it hurt to have a tooth prepared for a crown?

No. A local anaesthetic is used and the preparation should feel no different from a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve, and a post crown is being prepared, then local anaesthetic may not be needed.

How long will a crown last?

The life of a crown will depend on how well it is looked after. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. It is very important to keep this area as clean as your other teeth, or decay could endanger the crown. Properly cared for crowns will last for many years – your dentist will be able to tell you how long.

How are crowns fixed to teeth?

Once the fit and appearance of the crown has been checked – and approved by you – it will be cemented in place with special dental cement. The cement also forms a seal to help hold it firmly in place.

Will the crown feel different?

Because the shape of the crown will be slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was crowned, you may be aware of it to begin with. Within a few days it should feel fine, and you will not notice it. The crown may need some adjustment if it feels higher than the surrounding teeth. If it is at all uncomfortable ask your dentist to check and adjust it.

Is there an alternative to a crown?

A veneer may be an alternative to having an anterior crown. Your dentist will advise you of any suitable alternatives.

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