What is a dental crown?
A dental crown or cap is a restoration which completely covers and encircles a tooth. Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials and are indicated in different situations. Crowns can help restore both function and aesthetics to your teeth. Our highly skilled Cosmetic & Restorative dentists work with the best dental ceramists in the region, who implement artistry as well as the highest quality of materials when constructing our patients’ dental crowns.
When is a dental crown indicated?
- A crown is usually indicated when most of the tooth structure has been lost rendering it very weak to support chewing and/or biting forces. Tooth structure can be lost due to a tooth fracturing or due to untreated dental decay that has largely spread in the tooth.
- Another indication for restoring a tooth with a crown is a tooth that has been root-filled. Root-filled teeth usually become more brittle and fragile over time due to the loss of the blood supply, therefore, they are more likely to fracture. Restoring root-filled teeth with a crown will protect them from breaking over time.
- People suffering from severe tooth wear may also benefit from having crowns in order to restore their bite and protect the teeth from further damage.
- Furthermore, crowns are used to restore dental implants. If you have had a lost tooth replaced with a dental implant then you will need a crown to be placed on top of the implant to make it look like a tooth.
What types of crowns are available?
Crowns can be made of different materials such as porcelain, zirconia, composite, metal, or porcelain bonded to metal.
When selecting a material for your crown, your dentist will consider factors such as:
- tooth position,
- your bite,
- how much of the tooth will be displayed when smiling,
- the amount of tooth structure left,
- the colour of the neighbouring teeth,
- and position of the gum tissue.
What are the steps involved in preparing a tooth for a crown?
This is usually done over two appointments. An X-ray of the tooth is usually required to assess its condition before it is treated.
- Your dentist will file down and remove part of the outer layer of the tooth.
- An impression will be taken of your prepared tooth and the surrounding teeth.
- The dentist will put a temporary crown over your tooth to protect it.
- The impression will be sent to a lab, where the ceramist will construct the crown. This usually takes 4-5 working days.
- When the crown is ready, you will need to attend the clinic for a second visit. During this visit, your temporary crown will be removed and the new crown will be cemented on your tooth.
How should I care for my temporary dental crown?
A temporary crown is a crown that is meant to stay on your prepared tooth for a short period of time. It is placed on your tooth with temporary cement. Therefore, it is not as strong as a permanent crown and can be easily dislodged with sticky or hard food. To avoid the temporary crown from being dislodged, you will need to avoid eating sticky and hard food such as dried fruits, toffee, nuts, seeded bread, etc…
If your temporary crown falls off, you can visit your dentist to have it replaced.
Does a crowned tooth require special care?
Treat your crowned tooth like how you would treat the rest of your teeth by practicing good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily.
Avoid opening bottles or biting on very hard things such as ice in order to protect your crown from breaking.
If you grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend you to wear a night guard in order to protect your teeth and crown from further damage.
How long do dental crowns last?
Dental crowns can last between 5-15 years, depending on the material used and on the patient’s habits.
Generally speaking, metal crowns tend to last longer than porcelain crowns but they are not as aesthetic in their appearance. Composite crowns may wear down very quickly and are usually used on front teeth.
Overall, when taken care of well, crowns can last many years.
Can a broken or chipped crown be fixed?
Unfortunately, if your crown breaks, it would not be possible to repair that same crown. Your dentist would have to replace the broken crown with a new one, following the same steps described above.
The only exception to this is if you have a composite crown. If part of the composite breaks then your dentist can repair it by adding more composite material on the crown and shape it accordingly.
What can be done if my dental crown falls off or becomes loose?
If your crown falls off, your dentist will assess the crown and check whether it would be possible to re-cement the crown back onto your tooth. If the tooth is still intact then usually crowns can be easily re-cemented back in place. However, if the tooth is broken then the crown will probably not fit and so alternative treatment options would be discussed.