A dental crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape and appearance of a natural looking tooth. A crown can may also be known as a cap.
When Would I Need A Crown
Crowns are an ideal way to repair teeth that have broken, or have been weakened by decay or have a very large filling. A crown can be used for a number of other reasons, for example:
- If a filling is discoloured you may want to improve on the appearance of the tooth.
- If your tooth has been root filled you may need a crown to protect and strengthen what is left.
What Are Crowns Made Of
Crowns are made of a few different materials:
Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
Porcelain: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns. But they look very natural and are mainly used for front teeth.
All-ceramic: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
Gold-alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it very hard wearing. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.
How is a crown prepared?
The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing a layer of the outer surface, leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown.
Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to show the way you bite together.
The impressions will then be sent to a dental technician, along with information about the shade to use and any other information they need.
What Is A Post Crown
In root-filled teeth it may be necessary to insert a post into the root of the tooth before placing a crown. This gives support and helps the crown to stay in place. The surface of the tooth may be removed down to the level of the gum.
A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal. A custom-made post can be constructed by the dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.
Will I Get A Temporary Crown
A temporary crown will be made so that you can use the tooth while you wait for the crown to be made. This crown may be more noticeable but is only temporary.
How Is The Crown Fitted
When you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown, it will be fixed in place with special dental cement.
How Long Does The Treatment Take
You will need two visits. At the first visit, your dental team will prepare the tooth, take impressions, take the shade of your tooth, and fit a temporary crown. At the second visit, your dentist will fit the permanent crown. There will usually be 1 week between appointments.
Is The Procedure Painful
No. You will have a local anaesthetic and the preparation work should feel no different from a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve, and a post crown is being prepared, then you may not need a local anaesthetic.
Looking After My Crown
It is important to keep the crown just as clean as you would your natural teeth. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. Brush morning and night with a fluoride toothpaste, and clean in between your teeth with inter dental brushes or floss.
How Long Will My Crown Last
This depends on how well you look after it. If you take great care of your crown it should last for many years.
On some occasions you may require a Post Crown, this maybe required if your tooth is badly broken down, or badly decayed.
A metal post is a custom made and constructed by a dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal performed by the dentist. The Post is then placed into the root canal and cemented into position to support the new crown.