Dental crowns are caps which are placed over teeth and held in place with a specialist adhesive or cement. They can be used as a protective cover for badly decayed or fractured teeth, as permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings or to correct minor problems such as spacing, irregular shape or severe discolouration.
A dental crown can be made from a number of materials including plastic, ceramic or metal alloys. It’s also possible to use a combination of metal and ceramic in order to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.
At your first appointment, your dentist will carry out a thorough clinical examination using radiographs. This will determine whether or not a dental crown is necessary and if it is, any preparatory work will be carried out. Your dentist will also be able to advise you on material choices, what the treatment involves and also address any other concerns you may have.
At your second appointment, the teeth to be crowned will be prepared. This involves reducing the tooth size (usually under local anaesthetic) to create space for the crown and getting an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. The mould will then be sent to a laboratory where a skilled technician will fabricate the crown. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be fitted to your trimmed tooth.
At your final appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth surface is cleaned. Once the crown is perfectly aligned, it’s cemented on with dental cement.
Crowns do not deteriorate over time but this doesn’t mean that the underlying tooth can’t suffer from decay or gum disease so it’s important to care for your teeth as normal. Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health and keeping your dental work trouble-free.
In order to prevent your crown from getting chipped, avoid chewing excessively hard items such as ice and bones. The most vulnerable part of your crown is the margin or junction between the tooth and the crown.