A crown is a special ‘thimble’ usually made of metal or porcelain, or both, that goes over a damaged or weak tooth. They are often provided as an alternative to extraction or large fillings that would look poor or have a reduced lifespan. The tooth is shaped so that, with the artificial crown, it is the same size as a normal tooth. Preparation time depends on how damaged the tooth is and whether it needs to be built up with a “core” material first. A soft mouldable gel is used to make an exact impression of the tooth that is to be crowned and the nearby teeth. A dental technician uses that impression to make the crown the exact height, size and shape needed. A thin cord may be used to hold the gum away from the tooth so that the impression is accurate round the edges. A temporary crown made of plastic or metal is put over the tooth until the permanent crown has been manufactured. You can chew on a temporary crown but it won’t be as strong as the finished one. When the final crown is fitted, small adjustments may be made to ensure it fits well and you can bite comfortably. The crown is tried on first, and then cemented into place if satisfactory. It will be matched up to the shape and, in the case of porcelain crowns, colour of your other teeth so it looks as natural as possible. Crowns should last for many years, depending on the health of the tooth underneath and their aftercare.
- Tooth structure needs to be removed to allow crown to fit over
- Crowns can chip or come loose
- More expensive than large fillings
- Increased risk of long term pulp / nerve damage to supporting teeth
- Protect teeth with large fillings
- Can improve shape, size and colour of teeth
- Can realign / straighten crooked teeth