What is a crown?

A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth that is held in place by dental adhesive or cement.

Crowns are used for several reasons:

  • As a protective measure for badly decayed, damaged or fractured teeth.
  • As a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings to prevent recurrent decay or fractures.
  • To protect root canal treated teeth from fracture.
  • To correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape of discolouration.

What are crowns made from?

Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. They can be made from plastic, ceramic or metal alloys. A combination of metal and ceramic is also possible to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.

What is the procedure for having a crown placed?

After a clinical examination by the dentist, the suitability for a crown is assessed and any preparatory work carried out. Your dentist will advise on material choices, treatment sequence and any other concerns that you may have.

At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are reduced in size under local anaesthetic followed by an impression of the prepared tooth, either digitally or conventionally with a mould. The impression is usually sent to a dental laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the crown. Meanwhile, a temporary crown is usually placed to protect the tooth.

At the third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and tooth cleaned. The completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, harmony with the bite and appearance. Finally it is cemented in.

How long do crowns last and how do I care for them?

Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still susceptible to decay and devitalisation.

Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture. Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintain good health. The most vulnerable portion of the crown is the margin or the junction between tooth and crown.

Regular checkups enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend any necessary treatment.