These are used to restore broken, weakened or damage teeth because they encase the remainder of the tooth protecting it against further damage and preserve it’s functionality.
- Dental crowns are used when a filling will not hold the tooth
- To strengthen teeth after treatment eg, root canal treatment
- To treat acid erosion cases
- To cover up a filling that is noticeable due to its colour
- To retain dentures better
Dental Crown Materials
There are many different combinations of materials used to make dental crowns and as advances in dentistry occur the popularity of the materials changes.
- Porcelain and precious metal; this is the most common form of crown. The porcelain is placed on top of the metal to improve its aesthetics. However over time this combination can create dark lines around the gum which can be very noticeable, especially at the front of the mouth.
- Porcelain; these slightly lack in strength but look very natural. Their colour and aesthetic value makes them mostly used for the front teeth.
- Ceramic; this is a very modern method and is very strong whilst also looking natural. These can be used for any teeth.
- Gold alloy; the oldest material for tooth repair, gold is often used now with other metals to increase the strength of the crown. They are very strong crowns but also very noticeable being silver or gold.
Procedure for a dental crown
Your dentist will need to ensure that your tooth is fully prepared for the fitting of a crown. This includes cleaning it and removing any decay from the tooth, this is usually done under local anaesthetic. The tooth is then reshaped to allow the crown to fit properly, the outside of the tooth is generally removed to achieve this. A mould is then taken of your teeth so that a crown can be made to fit your tooth accurately. An impression of the opposite jaw will also be taken to ensure that the crown will fit in comfortably with the rest of the teeth, leaving your bite unaffected.
You will be fitted with a temporary crown while the lab is making your permanent crown. This prevents any pain from your tooth and also ensures no further damage to your tooth. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for the crown to be made, your dentist will tell you exactly how long it will be before the treatment is started.
At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed and your new crown tested in your mouth. Your dentist will show you the new crown to make sure you are happy with it, your dentist will check that your crown fits well with the rest of your teeth and that it is the correct colour and shape. Once you are both happy with the restoration , your dentist will cement the crown firmly into place. Sometimes you might need to have your crown adjusted if it is affecting your bite. It is normal to be aware of the crown for the first few days after it has been fitted but this will usually settle on its own, if it does not, then contact your dentist for some adjustment.
How long does a crown last?
This depends on the material that it is made from and on how well you care for your teeth. Dental crowns do need to be looked after just like your natural teeth. You should brush and floss or use tepe brushes on a daily basis. On average crowns last approximately 7-10 years, sometimes longer but a number of factors need to be considered eg. Tooth grinding.