Crowns

A Crown (Cap) is a prosthesis fixed by the dentist upon a prepared tooth surface, using cement or an adhesive to bond it with the tooth.

  • Crown placement is an ideal way to repair teeth that have been broken, or that have been weakened by decay, or a very large filling.
  • A crown could be used in a number of other occasions, for example:
    • to improve the appearance of the tooth that have a discoloured, large filling
    • to protect the tooth when undergoing a Root Canal treatment.

Crowns are made with variety of materials, which include –

  • Metal, which usually contains chromium and cobalt 
  • Porcelain Bonded to precious metal
  • Complete ceramic, which employs a glass like crystalline material to mimic the colour of your adjacent natural teeth
  • White crystalline material called Zirconia which also mimics the colour of your natural teeth
  • The dentist will prepare the tooth to match the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing a layer of the outer surface called enamel, leaving a strong inner core called as dentin. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown.
  • Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth and one of the opposite jaw to show the way you bite together.
  • The impressions will then be given to a dental technician, along with information about the shade to use and any other information they need.

No. You will be administered a local anaesthetic during preparation so that you will not experience any pain. If the tooth has undergone Root Canal treatment, and a post crown is being prepared, then you may not need a local anaesthetic

  • If a root-filled tooth is not completely broken down, it may be possible for your dentist to build it up again using filling material which is called as “core”. This 'core' is then prepared in the same way as a natural tooth and the measurements are taken.
  • A root canal filled teeth if badly broken may need some support for the crown to be fixed upon it. This support cannot be obtained from a filling material alone and hence a tooth coloured or metal pin is inserted into the root canal which is called as post. This post will in turn support your crown.

When you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown, it will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place.

  • Usually it takes two to three appointments depending upon the technical complexity which is involved.
  • In the first appointment, the dentist usually prepares your teeth with local anaesthesia, gives you a temporary cap in order to protect the sensitive, prepared teeth from damage. He then takes a measurement of your prepared teeth and sends it to the lab along with the necessary measurements of the opposite jaw, so the technician can accurately fit the crown, according to your bite.
  • In the second appointment, the dentist will try the crown received from the lab with your prepared teeth to check its fit, its colour and other features. If everything is found to be satisfactory by you and the dentist, he will resend this crown to the lab for final finishing and polishing.
  • In the third appointment, the crown will be fixed to your prepared teeth using a cement or adhesive.

Because the shape of the crown will be slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was placed, you may be aware of it at first. However within a few days it should feel fine and you will not notice it. The crown may need some adjustment if your bite does not feel comfortable, and if this is the case, please ask your dentist to check and adjust it.

  • It is important to keep the crown just as clean as you would your natural teeth.
  • The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. Brush at night, after having your dinner, and at least once during the day with a fluoride toothpaste, and clean in between your teeth with special brushes or floss which the dentist has prescribed to you.

If properly taken care of, your crown should give you many years of service. However, if you have any further queries about this, you can contact your dentist for clarification.

Last updated on 02 December, 2018.

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