What is a crown?

A “ cap “ or crown is a tooth-shaped sleeve made of porcelain or metal or a combination of both that is placed over a tooth .

Reasons a crown may be required include;

  • To protect teeth which are badly decayed or have very large fillings which may otherwise fracture.
  • To alter the shape of teeth for cosmetic reasons due to for example misaligned teeth , spaced or discoloured teeth.
  • To go over an implant that has been already placed .

What are crowns made from?

Crowns can be made from a variety of materials;

  • Metal  –   made from Gold or base alloy. These provide very strong crowns and are often used in the back of the mouth if  cosmetics is not a concern for you.
  • Porcelain fused  to metal   -the crown consist of a thin  metal jacket which the porcelain is then bonded onto to give a more natural appearance . These  can be colour-matched to your adjacent teeth , unlike the metallic crowns. Possible disadvantages include very occasional fracturing of the porcelain off the metal and less optimal cosmetics compared to the metal free white crowns that are also available now. .
  • All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide the best natural colour match than any other crown type.  At the practice we have found E-max an excellent choice providing a  combination of high aesthetics  and excellent strength . Because there is  no metal alloy base with this crown you cannot get the unsightly looking grey line around the gum line one sometimes see with Porcelain fused to metal crowns and they have a very  pleasing natural result .

How are crowns made?

At the initial appointment an examination is conducted and x-rays are usually taken of  the tooth we may plan to crown , by the dentist.  The suitability for crowns is assessed and any preparatory work is carried out.  Your dentist will also be able to advise on material choices, treatment sequence and any other concerns you may have.

At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are prepared. This involves reduction of the tooth size usually under local anaesthesia. This trimming of the tooth is required to create space for the crown to be fitted.  Following this a mould of your teeth is taken.  The impression left by your teeth is used by a dental lab as a cast which is then used in the fabrication of your crown. Meanwhile , a temporary crown is made and fitted onto your trimmed tooth until the next appointment.

At the third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and  the completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, appearance and your bite.  If  both you and  your dentist are happy with the result the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth with dental cement.

How long do crowns last and how do I care for them?

Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease so its essential you  brush and floss around your crown daily. The most vulnerable portion of the crown is the margin or the junction between tooth and crown.

Long term Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend necessary treatment.