Dental crowns (also known as caps) are a laboratory made restoration that are fitted on top of a prepared tooth to improve both the appearance and function of a tooth. They are usually made out of a porcelain or ceramic material, and are made to blend in with your existing teeth for a nice discrete option.
Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are commonly used on teeth that have broken down due to natural wear and tear or even tooth decay, but have progressed past the need for fillings or inlays & onlays. These issues can include:
- Repairing a broken (worn) down tooth
- Replace missing teeth alongside a bridge or on dental implants
- Used to repair and cover a tooth that has had a root canal
- Occasionally used to close minor gaps between teeth
- Used to repair teeth that have large cracks, chips or a lot of decay
- Improve the aesthetics on discoloured teeth, or poorly shaped teeth
What Are The Benefits of Porcelain Dental Crowns?
- Strong & durable
- Made to blend in with your natural teeth
- Act like your natural teeth
- Has longevity (dependent on your own oral hygiene routine)
Will My New Tooth Be Secure
Depending on your requirement (based on the treatment you go ahead with), crowns will be secured in place by:
- Dental implants - a titanium screw that is placed into the bone & gum to securely hold the tooth in place (our sister practice has an implant dentist who can offer this treatment)
- Dental cement - the new dental crown will be cemented on top of the prepared tooth
Common Types of Crowns Used
Porcelain fused to metal: These are the most commonly used crowns. We can match the porcelain to your natural tooth colour to easily blend them into your smile. Porcelain is also inherently strong and durable which makes it ideal in repairing teeth. We often recommend them for the back teeth, as the metal base makes the core of the crown strong enough to withstand every day chewing forces. The downside with these being that when they are used on the front teeth, the metal base can show through if hit by full natural light. If your gum line also recedes, it can make a dark line visible where the gum meets the crown.
Porcelain/Ceramic Crowns: These give the most natural appearance and are great for patients who may have an allergy to metal. These are recommended more for the front teeth as they don’t suffer from the visible dark line that can appear with the aforementioned porcelain fused to metal crowns. They unfortunately do not have the same strength as the above crowns, and are more susceptible to chipping/cracking, especially if you have a prolific clenching or grinding habit.
Zirconia Crowns: Zirconia are the best of both worlds, as they give you the greatest overall aesthetics like the full porcelain crowns and they are also the strongest material available (stronger than the metal base crowns). Zirconia is practically indestructible and can be used for both front and rear teeth. However, one downside to these crowns is that because how strong they are, they can cause other teeth to wear down when they come into contact. There are two methods to utilise Zirconia, it can either be milled out of a solid block, or can be used as a strong core base for a porcelain veneer. Due to the strength of the material, they can be made thinner than the other crowns, meaning there is less tooth preparation required (which is always a good thing).
Temporary Crowns: As the name suggests, these are only used as a temporary solution until we fit your permanent crown. They are usually made out of an acrylic material which doesn’t have the same strength as porcelain. These are fitted immediately after your teeth are prepared, and are there to keep your teeth protected until the final restoration is fitted (usually takes a couple of weeks for the labs to turn the crowns around).
How Long Do Crowns Last?
This will vary depending on the exact type of crown you have (zirconia being the strongest), and also dependent on your individual lifestyle (oral hygiene, clenching/grinding habit). Typically the lifespan of a crown will last between 10-15 years, and we are always happy to give advice on best practices in looking after your crowns.
If you have broken or chipped a crown they will need replacing. This is because bacteria can then enter the tooth and cause further complications (gum disease etc). The most common reasons we see crowns failing is down to gum disease, but this can be easily combated with an effective oral hygiene routine and also regular visits to the dental hygienist.
How Long Does It Take To Fit Crowns?
Getting crowns can be completed over two appointments. The first appointment is the longer of the two, and we will need to prepare the tooth from decay and make space for the crown to be fitted to. We will also fit a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the final fit. This usually takes around 1 hour and depends on the tooth being prepared.
The second appointment will again vary, but will be shorter than the tooth preparation appointment. This usually takes around 40 minutes for us to remove your temporary crown and then cement your final crown and give it a polish for a nice overall aesthetic look.
We will always advise you on the appointments time when you make them, but please do not hesitate to ask us if you are unsure.
Which Options Are The Most Suitable For Me?
We understand there are now many different treatment options available which can seem confusing. We are happy to see you for a dental assessment where we will thoroughly examine your teeth and discuss with you your suitable options so you can achieve dental health.
Call us today to start your journey to a healthier smile...