Crowns are placed to improve the appearance of your teeth if they are damaged, discoloured or slightly crooked. A crown will protect heavily filled teeth and may be the only possible long term solution.
What are crowns made of?
There are several different materials from which crowns can be made- Gold, porcelain with a metal base, all porcelain and composite. The different types of crowns are suitable for different situations in the mouth.
What is involved in crown preparation?
The tooth is assessed and any existing decay and gum problems are treated. Once the tooth and supporting tissues are healthy there are normally two appointments required.
At the first appointment the tooth and existing filling are reduced in size before recording an impression. In order to take an accurate impression of the margins of the crown we must pack a cord round the gum line of the tooth.
A temporary crown is made and cemented on the tooth. If the crown is to be made from porcelain then a shade needs to be taken. We will either record a shade for you or request that the technician choose the shade depending on where the crown is and the quality of light.
The impression is then sent to the laboratory where the technician makes the crown. After this appointment your gum will often feel tender round the tooth for a few days and the tooth may initially be a little temperature or pressure sensitive. If the bite is not right, or problems persist after 2-3 days please let us know.
At the second appointment 10-14 days later the finished crown is tested in the mouth for proper fit, shape and colour.
The bite is adjusted on both the crown and occasionally on adjacent or opposing teeth to get the best possible chewing platform. Once everything has been checked the crown is cemented.
The length of time that a crown will last depends on a wide variety of factors including the way in which your teeth meet, how heavily you chew, whether you grind your teeth and your own maintenance of your oral hygiene. Usually you can expect a lifetime of 10 - 15 years for a crown in a well maintained mouth. Most crowns will however last for considerably longer.
The most common complication after the placement of a crown is the loss of vitality of the tooth. This is most commonly due to a pre-existing deep filling. We make every effort prior to crowning a tooth to ensure its vitality. However, should a tooth become non-vital and require root canal treatment this can be done through the existing crown in the vast majority of cases. If a Root Canal is required the cost will be additional.
Recurrent decay around a crown or advancing periodontal disease around a crown are both preventable with a good home care regime and regular check-ups with both the dentist and the hygienist.
Less common problems such as the fracture of a crown or chipping of the porcelain can be assessed on an individual basis- all work is covered under a guarantee for five years which is normally sufficient time for problems with the manufacture of the crown to arise.