It is a type of restoration used to strengthen teeth weakened through injury or decay. They are also known as caps because they as placed above an existing tooth. Crowns can be matched to the colour and shape of the natural tooth.
You will need a crown if:
Crowns can be made from a range of different materials, including metal and ceramic materials:
Before a crown is fitted the tooth will go through a preparation stage. This involves removing decayed tissue and leaving a stable core. The amount of tissue removed is that which is needed to accommodate the new crown. A mould will be made following the preparation and the new crown manufactured according to this impression.
Crowns are made by highly trained, skilled laboratory technicians, who use the impressions sent by your dentist to create custom-made restorations.
Your crown will be shaped and coloured to blend in with your natural teeth. You shouldn't be able to see it, unless you have a metal crown that is more visible. Temporary crowns, which are fitted after the tooth has been prepared, are more visible but will be replaced by a more discreet permanent crown.
During the first appointment the tooth is prepared and the impression taken, and then the second appointment is where the crown is actually fitted.
When you have your tooth prepared you should not feel any pain as your dentist will numb the tooth using local anaesthetic. In cases where the tooth doesn't have any nerves and a post-crown is fitted, there is usually no need for anaesthetic.
A post-crown is used when a tooth is root-filled. Your dentist will cut the crown at the gum level and make a double-ended post, which is applied in the root canal. One end remains in the root canal and the other is attached to the crown to secure it. Post-crowns can be made from stainless steel or precious metal.
If the tooth is not entirely worn-out your dentist may be able to build up a core using dental filling material.
A crown should remain intact for many years if you take good care of it. This means brushing your teeth regularly and seeing your dentist for frequent check-ups. It is not possible for the crown to decay, but the area of tooth tissue around the crown can become decayed.