A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement. Crowns are used for several reasons, as a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth, as a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings or to correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape or severe discolouration.
What are crowns made from?
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. They can be made from plastic, ceramic or metal alloys. A combination of metal and ceramic is also possible to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.
How are crowns made?
Firstly, a thorough clinical examination is conducted with radiographs, by the dentist. The suitability for crowns is assessed and any preparatory work is carried out. Your dentist will also be able to advise on material choices, treatment sequence and any other concerns you may have. At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are prepared. This involves reduction of the tooth size to create space for the crown to be fitted (usually under local anaesthesia) followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. The mould taken is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the crown. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be fitted. At the third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, harmony with the bite, and appearance. Finally, the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth with dental cement.
How long do crowns last and how do I care for them?
Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease so daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health as well as keeping the crown trouble-free. Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture so avoid chewing excessively-hard substances like ice or bones. Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend necessary treatment.