Crowns are a very successful option for repairing cracked, broken, decayed or heavily filled teeth. A crown completely covers the damaged tooth above the gum line and so protects it. The colour is matched to that of your own teeth and, as crowns are very strong, they can look and feel exactly like natural teeth.
Why Might I Need a Crown?
- If your tooth has undergone significant decay and there is not enough tooth structure remaining to support a filling or an inlay and maintain functionality.
- If a large portion of your tooth has fractured and it cannot be built up using traditional composite bonding techniques.
- If you have a large cavity and opt for the additional protection a crown offers to your tooth over a large composite filling or an inlay.
- If you have had a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, a crown will be fitted to the abutment of the titanium implant.
- Following root canal treatment, a crown is often needed to strengthen the tooth.
- If you grind your teeth and have a poor diet, acid erosion may reduce your teeth to a point where the only option available is to crown them.
- For cosmetic reasons, to improve the aesthetics of your smile, you may opt for all porcelain cosmetic crowns.
What Is a Crown Made Of?
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are continually being introduced. Some of the most popular options are listed below.
Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
Porcelain: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns. But they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
All ceramic: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
Glass: these crowns look very natural and can be used anywhere in the mouth.
Gold-alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it very hardwearing. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.
How Is a Crown Prepared?
Our Dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing a layer of the outer surface, leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown.
Once the tooth is shaped, our dental team will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to show the way you bite together.
The impressions will then be given to one of our dental technicians, along with information about the shade to use and any other information they need.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
This will depend largely on how well you look after your teeth. Dental crowns require the same level of care and attention as your natural teeth. Provided you have a good oral hygiene program, attend regular check ups at your dentist, don't grind your teeth, maintain a tooth-kind diet and don't do things like open beer bottles with your teeth, a high-quality dental crown can last 10-15 years.