If unsightly teeth are spoiling your smile, crowns can offer a neat, natural-coloured cover up. Sometimes known as a cap, they are placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement.
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, ceramic or metal alloys. A combination of metal and ceramic is also possible to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.
Why do I need a dental crown?
Crowns are commonly used to repair damage that has affected the structure and functionality of a tooth. As they replace the whole outside structure of the tooth, they are a full rebuild for teeth that need an overall restoration. For teeth that have had multiple fillings, extensive decay and general damage, a crown is the way forward.
In some cases, your dentist may use a crown to restore a tooth following a root canal treatment for an aesthetic and reliable finish.
What is involved in the treatment?
- We first ensure that the internal structure of the tooth is intact, making sure there are no signs of infection.
- We remove a layer of the tooth structure, but make sure we leave a strong core. The amount of tooth removed depends on the thickness of the crown, which can differ depending on the material used to make it.
- We then take impressions of your teeth and record their colour so the crown can be made to fit perfectly.
- Between appointments, we protect the prepared tooth with a temporary crown.
- When your crown is ready, the temporary crown is removed and the new permanent one fixed in place with a strong dental cement.
Looking after your crown
The best way to care for your crown is to stay on top of your oral hygiene – this means keeping your teeth and gums healthy by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing between your teeth. You also need to see your dentist regularly for check-ups so they can keep an eye on your crown and the tooth underneath.
Frequently Asked Question
No, crowns are actually a very effective restorative solution for damaged or badly decayed teeth. Some natural tooth enamel needs to be removed to accommodate the crown, but for many patients the benefits a crown will bring to their smile and overall oral health is worth it.
Over time, crowns can become stained, especially if you enjoy drinking tea, coffee or red wine, or are a smoker. If this occurs, you can choose to have them replaced at an additional cost.
You can expect a crown to last for up to ten years before needing to be replaced. You may find that natural wear and tear mean it needs to be repaired earlier than this. Your dentist will keep an eye on your crown at your regular check ups.