What is a crown?

A crown is a tooth-like “cap” which fits over an existing tooth to strengthen, restore or improve its appearance. They are usually placed over teeth where there is no longer sufficient tooth structure to support a filling. If additional strength is needed, sometimes we will also place an underlying metal shell under the porcelain.

Why are crowns fitted?

Crowns can be necessary for a number of reasons, from broken fillings, fractured, chipped or discoloured teeth, to malformed, malpositioned or sensitive teeth. You may need a crown if you:

  • Have a previously filled tooth where there is now more filling than tooth. The existing tooth structure becomes weakened and can no longer support the filling
  • Have extensive damage by decay
  • Wish to improve the colour or shape of a tooth
  • Want to restore a fractured tooth
  • Have had a root canal filling – After root canal filling, teeth tend to become brittle and are more prone to fracture.
  • Have a bridge – When missing teeth are replaced with a bridge, the adjacent teeth require crowns in order to support the replacement teeth.
  • Need to stabilise a removable partial denture
  • Need to cover (restore) a dental implant

What are crowns made of?

There are some exciting new materials available that we make crowns from which are very natural looking and biocompatible. These are made to blend in with your own teeth or even improve your overall smile. There are three types of crowns:

  • Full porcelain crown
  • Porcelain fused-to-metal crown
  • All-metal crown.

At your consultation, we will discuss which type is the most appropriate for you. This decision will depend on the strength requirements and also the aesthetic concerns of the tooth involved.

What is involved in getting a crown fitted?

Fitting a crown requires at least two appointments.

  • During your first visit, the tooth is prepared for the crown and an impression (or mould) is made of your tooth. We will then fit a temporary crown over the prepared tooth while we make a permanent crown especially for you. This temporary crown will protect your tooth and the gum tissues between dental visits.
  • In between your first and second visit, PLEASE do not be afraid to clean your teeth. The health of your teeth and gum tissue during this stage is extremely important. The success of your final treatment restoration depends upon it. IF THE TEMPORARY CROWN FALLS OUT, REPLACING THE TEMPORARY CROWN IMMEDIATELY IS VERY IMPORTANT! It only takes a short time for teeth to move if the temporary is not put back into its proper position. This could affect the final restoration significantly and may necessitate new impressions and a great deal of time. Putting a drop of Vaseline™ in the temporary crown will often hold it in place until you can schedule an appointment. If you can not replace the temporary crown yourself, put it in a safe place and call the office. We will be happy to recement it for you at the earliest possible moment.
  • During your second visit, the temporary crown is removed and then the final crown is fitted. We will check for accuracy, adjust for any bite discrepancies and evaluate the aesthetics. If all these factors are OK, the permanent crown is cemented to your tooth.

What should you expect after your appointments?

  • Because of the local anaesthetic we will use, you can expect to be numb for one to four hours. Not everyone reacts to medication in the same manner, so if your anaesthesia should last a little longer, do not be concerned.
  • While you’re numb, be careful not to bite your lip or tongue. A soft diet or no meal at all while you’re numb is probably a good idea.
  • If your child has been the patient, please watch them carefully to be sure they do not play with their tongue or lip while it is numb.
  • Should you experience any discomfort you can take a mild analgesic (provided there is no medical contraindication based upon your medical history). Typically, you can take anything you would normally take for a headache. If the discomfort persists, please call our office.
  • It is not unusual for your new permanent crown to be mildly sensitive to cold temperatures for a few weeks. However, if the sensitivity is severe, does not subside, or if the bite feels uncomfortable, please contact our office. Further adjustments to the crown may be necessary.