Dental Crowns

What is a Dental Crown?

A crown (also known as a cap) is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth.

Why would I need a crown?

You may need a crown in the following situations:-

      • To strengthen and restore a tooth which has decayed, broken or have a large filling in place.
      • To improve the aesthetics of a discoloured or chipped tooth.
      • Following the root canal treatment, to protect what is left of the tooth.

What is a crown made of?

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials. Below are the most popular options:

      • Porcelain bonded to precious or non-precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious or non-precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
      • Porcelain crowns: these crowns are made completely out of porcelain but they are not as strong as bonded crowns. They can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
      • All-ceramic crowns: this modern material is metal free. It can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. This makes it suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
      • Glass: these crowns look very natural and are used on both front and back teeth.
      • Gold alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metals to increase its strength, which makes it a very hard-wearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.

How is a crown prepared?

The dentist will prepare the tooth so that the crown will fit perfectly. This involves removing a layer of the outer surface, which leaves a strong inner core. The amount that is removed from the tooth will be the same as the thickness of the crown. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take some impressions (moulds) of the prepared tooth, of the other jaw, and possibly another to mark the way you bite together.

These impressions will then be sent to the dental laboratory, along with details of the tooth colour shade to use and other information needed for the crown to be made.

What is a post crown?

If a tooth is root filled, then the dentist may have to insert a post before placing a crown. A post provides support and helps the crown stay in place. The weakened crown of the tooth may be shortened to gum level.
A ready-made post is made of stainless steel, which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal, or the dental laboratory can make a custom-made post 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.

Are there any alternatives to post crowns for root-filled teeth?

If a root-filled tooth is not completely broken down, it may be possible to build it up again using filling material. This 'core' is then prepared in the same way as a natural tooth and the impressions are taken.

What will happen between visits?

The dentist will fit a temporary crown so that you can use the tooth whilst waiting for the crown to be made. This crown may be more noticeable but you will only have to wear it for 1 or 2 weeks.

How is the crown fitted?

Once you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown, then the dentist will use special dental cement or adhesive to fix it in place. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place.

How long does the treatment take?

You will need to have at least two visits. The first is to have the tooth prepared, the impressions taken, the shade matched and the temporary crown fitted. The second is to fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 1 to 2 weeks in between appointments.

Follow On Care

After your Crown has been fitted, should you notice any pain or sensitivity when you bite down then you must contact your dentist. Usually this means that the crown is too high and can be easily adjusted.

What will it cost?

Costs will vary depending on the type of crown and the material used. Your dentist will provide you with a written estimate and treatment plan before commencing any of your dental treatment.

For further information, ask your dentist about Dental Crowns or speak to the receptionist by calling us on 01902 763200.