A crown is a tooth shaped cap that is placed over the entirety of a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive. They are usually placed when the natural tooth is too badly decayed, fractured or otherwise damaged to be filled but the root remains healthy.
If you have large fillings that have had to be repeatedly replaced we may consider a crown as a permanent restoration option. We may also suggest a crown as part of cosmetic treatment, to correct minor problems in natural teeth such as spacing, irregular shape or discolouration.
Crowns can be made from plastic or from metals such as silver and gold, but as best practice we use natural looking crowns made from dental porcelain, or a combination of metal cloaked in dental porcelain to maximise strength and create the appearance of a natural tooth.
Fitting a crown requires multiple visits. Firstly, we will conduct a thorough clinical examination using radiographs. At this stage we will advise on material choices for your crown (or crowns) and discuss the treatment and any other concerns you may have.
At the second appointment, we prepare the teeth that are to be crowned. It is important to note that fitting a crown is an irreversible treatment as the procedure involves reducing the natural tooth size so that the crown can fit on top.
Once your damaged teeth have been reduced, usually under local anaesthetic, we will take an impression or mould of the prepared area. The mould is then sent to a dental laboratory where skilled technicians will craft the crown. In the meantime, we will fit a temporary crown onto the trimmed tooth, so you will look good and feel comfortable in between appointments.
At the third and final appointment, the temporary crown is removed and your remaining tooth surfaces cleaned. The completed crown is tried on for fit and harmony with your bite and appearance. When we are happy that the crown is perfect we cement it in place with dental adhesive.
Crowns are made of stable materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth can still be affected by decay and gum disease, particularly where the crown meets the natural tooth at the gum line. We will advise you on how best to look after your teeth and crowns, but with a thorough cleaning routine and regular check ups crowns can be expected to last a lifetime.