What is a crown?
Crowns are an ideal way to rebuild teeth which have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. The crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. Crowns are sometimes also known as ‘caps’. An ‘Anterior Crown’ is a crown fitted to the front eight teeth.
Why would I need a crown?
There are a number of reasons. For instance:
The tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling
- To improve your bite or re-create usual chewing function that had been changed due to wear, decay or poor position of the tooth
- you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
- You may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it
- You may have had an accident and damaged the tooth
- It may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
What does it involve?
The procedure to prepare the tooth is usually done under local anaesthetic so should feel no different to a filling.
You will need to have at least 2 visits. The tooth is prepared to create the ideal shape for the crown. The dentist will then take an impression of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another one to mark the way you bite together.
The impressions and information about the shade of your teeth will be given to a dental technician who will be skilled in making the crown.
A temporary crown may also be made until the permanent one is ready. These temporary crowns may be more noticeable, but are only in place for about 2-3 weeks.
The final crown/bridge is then cemented on with dental cement which keeps it secure.
What are the benefits?
Can have fairly long lifespans depending on excellent brushing, cleaning in between teeth with floss or inter dental brushes, and regular dentist check-ups. Your diet and any grinding habits can also reduce the lifespan of the crown/bridge. Uncontrolled gum disease will also affect this.
The crown can have a good colour and shape match to the rest of your teeth
Are there any disadvantages?
The tooth can be sensitive during and after the final treatment. Usually this sensitivity disappears after several days/weeks. If this does not happen or appears to worsen, please let the practice know
The tooth will need to be prepared, and the amount of tooth reduction can range from none to quite a lot. With any tooth reduction, there is a risk of the nerve under a crown dying off, which may require a root canal treatment or extraction at further cost.
No restoration is permanent or fracture proof. The crown/bridge may fail requiring more complex/specialist treatment.
Are there any other options?
There are different types of materials for crowns available both on the NHS and privately, depending on where the tooth is in your mouth and the purpose of the crown. Your dentist will discuss the types available (with the benefits, disadvantage and cost) for your individual situation.