Dental crowns are a way to restore damaged, broken or weakened teeth. Along with repairing any damage, they can also strengthen teeth preventing further risks to the tooth. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, with advantages for certain teeth.
Generally, ceramic crowns are used for the front of the mouth, while teeth further back may be metal. More recently manufactured ceramic crowns are strong enough to be used on teeth at the back of the mouth, and offer an alternative more natural looking restoration.
Tooth crowns are also known as “caps”. They are each crafted individually to fit perfectly over your tooth, in order to provide protection, strength and a healthy, natural appearance. Crowns are ideal for damages that do not require a whole replacement of the tooth. Damaged teeth can be sensitive and painful, and may present a risk of tooth decay and progression of disease, so we suggest having such teeth treated as soon as you are able to do so.
Crowns are needed to:
1. Protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
2. Restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
3. Cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
4. Provide better success to a tooth which has had root canal treatment
5. Hold a dental bridge in place
6. Cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth
7. Cover a dental implant
8. Make a cosmetic modification
The tooth may have to undergo root canal treatment first (also known as “removing the nerve of the tooth”. The crown is sometimes held in place by a post in the root canal if a lot of the tooth is missing.
We use a soft material to make an exact impression of the tooth that is to be crowned and the nearby teeth. Our dental technician uses the impressions to make a bespoke fitting crown of your choice.
A temporary crown made of plastic or metal is put over the tooth until the permanent crown is made, which usually takes approximately 2 weeks. You can chew on a temporary crown but it won’t be as strong as the finished one. When the crown is ready, the temporary one is removed and the permanent one put it its place. We will make small adjustments to make sure you can bite comfortably.
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Frequently Asked Questions
On average, dental crowns last between five and fifteen years. The life span of a crown depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well your oral hygiene is maintained and your personal mouth-related habits (for example, grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging can all reduce the lifespan of your crown).
While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing or using interdental brushes once a day — especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Antibacterial mouth rinse can also help.