A crown is a full covering which is ﬁtted onto your tooth and looks like a natural tooth. It is made in a dental laboratory and is custom made to ﬁt your tooth. If it is for a back tooth it will be designed to look like a molar tooth and if it is for a front tooth it will look like your natural incisors. The laboratory technician will be able to craft it to the same shape and shade of your natural teeth and once the dentist has ﬁtted it to your tooth it is permanent and in most cases it is difﬁcult to tell the difference between the crown and the surrounding teeth.
Why have I got to have a crown?
If your tooth has a large ﬁlling it may not be possible to reﬁll it if there is not enough natural tooth left. A ﬁlling needs some of your natural tooth to hold it in and once a tooth has been ﬁlled several times there is sometimes not enough tooth left. In this case your dentist may recommend a crown as it ﬁts over the whole tooth and not only protects the weakened tooth from further damage but it looks better too. Another reason you may have been told you need a crown is if your tooth has a root ﬁlling, or is being root ﬁlled. A root ﬁlled tooth is more brittle than a non tooth ﬁlled tooth and more likely to break. If it is in an area of your mouth where there is a lot of chewing it is advisable to cover it with a crown to prevent cracking or breakage to the tooth. Some people ask about cosmetic crowns, ie crowns to improve the appearance of your teeth. This can be a great idea if for example your front teeth have ﬁllings which are large, have staining and which occasionally fall out. In this case a crown will solve that problem, protect the tooth from further damage and look much better too. If your teeth are healthy and have no ﬁllings then crowns are generally not advisable. This is because a crown requires that your tooth is drilled and that 1- 2 mm of enamel and tooth tissue are removed to make space for the crown. While it is OK to do this on an already ﬁlled tooth which has had a lot of enamel removed anyway, it is not really worth it on a healthy tooth. There is the risk that the drilling of the tooth could cause the nerve to die and it is not worth the risk on a healthy unﬁlled tooth. If your teeth are irregular or not straight there are other options to improve your smile. Teeth whitening and orthodontic treatment, or ‘braces’ may be a better alternative.
What happens when I get a crown?
This will take two appointments. The ﬁrst appointment will be when the dentist shapes the tooth into the right shape for a crown and then takes an impression of the tooth to send to the laboratory. At this appointment you will be
offered a local anaesthetic and then the dentist will have to drill the tooth for a short while. This is painless as the tooth is numb. If the tooth has been root ﬁlled it will usually needs post inserted into the root for extra strength. An impression is taken using a kind putty which sets in the mouth and then a temporary crown will be ﬁtted. At the next appointment your crown will be ﬁtted. his is usually a short appointment which doesn’t normally require any anaesthetic.
Are all crowns the same?
There are several different types of crown and this is mainly down to what they are made of. Some crowns have a
metal core with a ceramic porcelain covering others have no metal core and are all ceramic. There are different reasons for
choosing different types of crowns and your dentist will be able to advise you on the best type for you.
How long do crowns last?
Crowns need to be cleaned and looked after in the same way as natural teeth. It is still possible for decay to set in on the tooth under your crown and it is still possible to get gum disease around your crown. If you don’t keep the crowned tooth clean, gum disease will set in which means swollen bleeding gums which will shrink back from the edge of the crown. If this happens you will be able to see the edge of the crown and this can be unsightly.If you look after your teeth and brush and ﬂoss around the crown regularly then your crowned tooth should stay healthy and can last for many years. Secondary caries is the most common reason for failure (caries in the periphery and under the crown). This can be difficult to fix, hence the importance for excellent oral hygiene cooperation prior and after treatment.
All in all a crown is a great restorative treatment and improves appearance too.
If you would like more advice about crowns please call us and our friendly team will be happy to help.
Or you can read more about crowns on http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-crowns