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What is a dental crown?

Essentially, a crown is a “cap” which is fitted over an existing tooth to strengthen, restore or improve its appearance.

Dental Crowns are used to strengthen and restore a tooth to its full functionality and appearance. Crowns essentially protect a tooth and hold it together.

Crowns can be used in cosmetic dentistry to treat teeth that are poorly shaped, badly decayed, fractured, chipped or discoloured.

In many cases, patients with insufficient tooth structure have crowns placed instead of a restoration. Additionally, we use crowns to strengthen a tooth in order to accommodate the attachment of a fixed bridge which can be used when there are one or more missing teeth.

Benefits of crowns

  • Provides a strong restoration
  • Reduces the risk of infection and gum disease
  • Restores the shape, size and appearance of your tooth
  • Stabilises your teeth
  • Improves the ability to chew.

Crowns may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay, or replace a pre-existing crown. The purpose of a dental crown is to encase a needy tooth with a custom-designed material.

If you have the following, it is worth seeing us to check if any dental treatment may be required:

  • Sensitivity to cold or heat
  • Tenderness on chewing food
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods
  • Tooth has broken or chipped

Diagnostic moulds and x-rays are taken to evaluate the tooth. This will determine if the tooth requires any treatment prior to starting the crown.

An impression (or a “mould”) is taken of the tooth, and from it a model is poured. Your crown is made from this model, (it can take 1 – 2 weeks) and during this time a temporary crown is placed on the tooth.

The temporary crown is designed to protect your tooth and gum between visits, but is not durable enough to last a long time.

When your crown is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary crown, clean away the temporary cement and check the fit of the new crown. Once everything is ready, the crown will then be cemented to your tooth.

Dental Crowns are usually made out of acrylic, or porcelain that has been fused to metal, or plain porcelain, to withstand biting pressure.

Once your new crown is in place, you may experience a mild sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures on the tooth for several weeks.

This is only temporary and should subside on its own. If it continues, please contact us as it sometimes requires a quick adjustment.

Commonly Asked Questions

If you have a decayed, damaged or discoloured tooth, a crown can help improve the function of the tooth. There are very few people who are unable to have crowns.

If you’re missing a tooth, there are various ways to replace the tooth and your dentist will have discussed these with you. Some bridges are held in place by having crowns on adjacent teeth, whilst others can be held in place by cement.

Your general dentist will have asked you about your health and any medications you’re taking, in case there is a reason these treatments may not be the best option for you.

If you’re committed to caring for your oral health, crowns and bridges can be highly successful.

First, your dentist will have asked you questions regarding your health and the particular problems you’ve identified. They assess and document the condition of your mouth, the gaps and the tooth (or teeth) involved.

A mould of your mouth will be taken and x-rays will help in planning the best option for you. Once your dentist has all this information they’ll give you some options, it’s important you ask questions if you don’t understand what is being explained.

When you’ve agreed to treatment, your dentist will prepare your tooth (or teeth) for either a crown or a bridge. Once the preparation has been completed, another mould of your teeth will be taken. When your dentist is happy they have a good impression, you’ll have a temporary crown or bridge cemented to your tooth (or teeth).

The temporary work is designed to protect your teeth and gums between visits, but it’s not durable enough to last a long time. Once the crown or bridge has been made, your dentist will remove the temporary work, clean your teeth, and then cement the final crown or bridge to your tooth (or teeth). As a result, crowns and bridges typically require you to attend a minimum of two appointments.

You will generally need to have two visits: the first for the preparation, impression, shade taking and fitting the temporary crown; and the second to fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 1 to 2 weeks in between appointments.

How long your crown lasts depends on how well you look after it. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay may start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. Therefore, it is important to keep this area just as clean as you would your natural teeth in order to prevent decay affecting the crown.

You should avoid such habits as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting your fingernails and using your teeth to open packaging.

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