A crown is like a sleeve made of metal or porcelain, or both, that goes over a damaged or weak tooth. Crowns are carefully designed to look like natural teeth and are used either when extensive damage has occurred or to replace large unattractive metal fillings.
The crown should last for many years, depending on the health of the tooth underneath, and on how you look after your mouth.
Crowns are also known as “caps” due to how the fit over the existing tooth.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a professionally manufactured cover that is placed over a natural tooth in order to help restore its appearance and function.
Crowns are used for many reasons- most commonly to protect or cover a broken or severely decayed tooth so that you can use it as normal.
A crown is often placed over a tooth when it has lost the strength to support a normal filling- or when the decayed area is very large. They are commonly used to finish a root canal treatment- usually in the back teeth which require more strength due to the greater pressures exerted by the posterior teeth.
A crown enables us to restore strength to a tooth whilst also maintaining a natural feel and finish. Once you are used to your crown it will feel just the same as your other teeth- blending in perfectly as if it has always been there.
What is a crown made of?
Various materials can be used in the production of your crown. Often this will depend on where it will sit in your mouth. Very visible crowns can be made from porcelain or ceramic so that they look natural, whereas gold or metal alloys are often used for the back teeth where more strength and durability is required.
Either way, your crown will be matched in size and shape so that it fits perfectly alongside your existing teeth.
Is there an alternative to a dental crown?
To be honest, if a crown is suggested then it’s quite likely there aren’t many other alternatives- apart from complete extraction of the tooth or a dental implant.
A standard filling could help to fix the problem in the short-term but it will probably only be a temporary solution. As it’s likely you’ll need a crown at some point in the future, often it is more cost-effective to place one in the first place- avoiding a waste of time and money.
Complete removal of the tooth is best avoided unless absolutely necessary as many issues can arise as a result of missing teeth.
As well as affecting your general self-confidence, a missing tooth can cause problems with eating and speech. A gap could cause your other teeth to slowly move and become crooked. Likewise, it is easier for food and bacteria to get trapped- potentially causing gum disease and tooth decay.
In some cases, a tooth can be replaced with a dental implant. We will fully advise you on the best treatment for you following various checks and test including x-rays, photographs and impressions.
How much will my crown cost?
A good quality crown will cost between £300 and £1000 depending on the material used. Do bear in mind that a crown is generally very hard-wearing and durable and (with good maintenance and care) they have the potential to last for 10 years or more.
For many patients, they are a comfortable, strong and cost-effective way to restore their smile in the long-term.
The longevity of your crown will depend on the material used- with full gold being the most durable (but most expensive) choice.
A crown fits over the existing tooth and root.
How is a crown fitted?
Before we can place your new crown the original tooth will need to be prepared. This will involve removing any old fillings and grinding the tooth down under a local anaesthetic. This will make space for the crown to sit level with your other teeth. Once the original tooth is suitably prepared an impression will be taken and used to manufacture your crown.
During the manufacturing process (which should take around 2 weeks), a temporary acrylic crown will be placed on the tooth.
At your next appointment the crown will be checked for fit and size to ensure optimum comfort. Once you are happy, it will be securely fixed in place with a dental adhesive.
You will need to be careful with your crown in the first few hours and days after fitting- avoid biting on any hard foods so that you don’t cause any damage.
Remember that your crown could be damaged overtime by hard foods- attend regular dental check-ups so any problem can be spotted early.