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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:

  • The tooth is weakened by a large filling.
  • Your tooth is injured.
  • Part of your tooth is decayed.
  • You have had root canal treatment.
  • You have a dental bridge and you need new crowns to support the false tooth.
  • You have discoloured fillings and want to improve the aesthetics of your smile.

What materials are crowns manufactured from?

Crowns can be made from a range of different materials, including metal and ceramic materials:

  • All-ceramic crowns: These blend in with the tint of the natural teeth. They are not as sturdy as metal crowns or porcelain bonded to metal crowns, but have proven effective for the front teeth when aesthetics is a priority.
  • Metal fused to ceramic (porcelain) crown: These crowns have the benefit of strength and a natural-looking aesthetic.
  • All-metal crown: These crowns are strong and recommended for the back teeth.
  • Porcelain bonded to zirconia: Zirconia is sturdy and hard-wearing, and porcelain and zirconia crowns look like natural teeth.
What does the preparation stage involve?

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.

Who will make the crown?

Crowns are made by highly trained, skilled laboratory technicians, who use the impressions sent by your dentist to create custom-made restorations.

Will my crown be visible?

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.

How long is the treatment?

During the first appointment the tooth is prepared and the impression taken, and then the second appointment is where the crown is actually fitted.

Does preparation hurt?

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.

What is a post-crown and is the procedure different?

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.

What other options are there?

If the tooth is not entirely worn-out your dentist may be able to build up a core using dental filling material.

How long will the crown last?

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.