What is a crown?
Crowns are an ideal way to rebuild teeth which have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. The crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. Crowns are sometimes also known as ‘caps’.
Why would I need a crown?
There are a number of reasons:
- the tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling
- you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
- you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it
- you may have had an accident and damaged the tooth
- it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
What are crowns made of?
Crowns are made of a variety of materials and new materials are being introduced all the time. Here are some of the options available at present:
- Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and layers of porcelain are then applied over it.
- Porcelain: these crowns are not as strong as bonded crowns but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
- Ceramic: Ceramic crowns are completely natural looking and are almost as strong as the bonded crowns.
- Glass: these zirconia crowns look very natural and are used on both front and back teeth.
- Precious metal (gold and palladium): these crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are not usually used at the front of the mouth, where they are highly visible.
How is the tooth prepared for the crown?
The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will mean removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner ‘core’. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown to be fitted. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The impressions will be given to the technician, along with any other information they need to make the crown.
Will the crown be noticeable?
No. The crown will be made to match your other teeth exactly. The shade of the neighbouring teeth will be recorded, to make sure that the colour looks natural and matches the other teeth.