A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength and to improve its overall appearance.
What is your crown made of?
Most crowns are made from this material. A metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
These crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. However, they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
This modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable to be used in all areas of the mouth.
Gold is one of the oldest dental 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.
When a crown is prepared, the material will be coloured to blend in with your natural teeth. Your dentist wants your crown to appear natural and fit properly.
Several factors will be considered by the dentist when deciding the right material for your crown. These include:
- The function and location of the tooth
- The position of the gum line
- Your preference
- The amount of tooth that is revealed when you smile
- The shade or colour of the tooth
- How much of the natural tooth is remaining
When you need a dental crown
A dental crown is needed to:
- Protect a weak tooth from decay, breakage or to hold a cracked tooth together
- Restore a severely worn down or broken tooth
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
- Hold a dental bridge in place
- Cover severely discoloured or misshaped teeth
- Support a tooth with a large filling
Steps in placing a dental crown
This will usually require 2 visits to the dentist. When a crown is placed over the natural tooth, various steps are involved:
- Your dentist will prepare the tooth by removing its outer part to prepare the tooth to the ideal shape of the crown. The amount of tooth removed will be the same thickness as the crown. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, then your dentist may build up the core of your tooth.
- An impression will be made to provide an exact model for the crown. The impression can be made from a mould or by scanning your tooth digitally.
- You will get a temporary crown while you wait for the permanent crown to be manufactured– usually not more than 2-3 weeks. While you have your temporary crown, the tooth might be sensitive to hot and cold. Avoid chewing gum and eating sticky foods at this time.
- Once the crown is ready, your dentist will test fit it and make the necessary adjustments. When you and your dentist feel happy with your new restoration, the crown will be fixed in place with special dental cement or an adhesive.
- Properly cared for crowns should last for many years. The better you look after it, the longer it lasts!
How to take care of your dental crown
- Ensure that you brush your teeth, twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste for sensitive teeth if the crown or teeth around it are highly sensitive to heat or cold.
- Flossing daily will keep your teeth in proper health and improve dental hygiene.
- Avoid eating hard foods – Try not to chew on hard foods, like ice, that might cause the crown to crack, particularly if you choose a porcelain crown.
- Clenching or grinding teeth – If you grind or clench your teeth at night, then your dentist might suggest wearing a nightguard to protect your crown and the surrounding teeth.
Do you need to protect cracked or weak teeth?
Get in touch with our dentists to ask about crowns.