What is a Dental Crown?
Dental Crowns are a type of tooth restoration which protects and reinforces weak teeth. They are usually prepared and made in a dental laboratory. A variety of dental materials can be used to make a crown. When you see one our dentists at Confidental Clinic Surbiton, your teeth will be assessed and if appropriate, a crown may be recommended for a tooth and your options will be discussed with you for your individual case.
When Should I Have a Crown?
Your dentist will advise you when a crown is recommended but usually a crown is required in the following situations:
- Protecting weak teeth which are liable to fracture due to the presence of large fillings or decay
- Teeth which have had a root canal treatment
- Replace old crowns with poor appearance or function
- Restore teeth with poor aesthetics which cannot be treated with either a white filling or veneer
- Restore dental implants
What is a Crown Made From?
A crown can be made from a variety of materials but these are the common ones:
Cosmetic Crowns - The most common cosmetic crowns are usually made from a ceramic / porcelain material e.g. Zirconia or Emax. All Porcelain Crowns are metal free and offer the best appearance due to the material being translucent and are very durable.
Zirconia is a very strong ceramic crown and can be used in areas of high stress but still provide excellent aesthetics.
Emax is made from lithium disilicate which offers excellent translucency, durability and strength. In particular, Emax has excellent adhesive properties and is useful for the purposes of smile makeovers.
Gradia is a cost effective type of crown made from the same type of material that is used for white filings. These are strong and functional but also offer good aesthetics.
Porcelain bonded to metal crowns are alternatives to the metal free crowns. These crowns have an outer layer of porcelain fused to a layer of metal. These types of crowns are very strong and used for patients with heavy biting forces.
What is Involved?
An initial assessment and x-ray is usually provided at Confidental Clinic Surbiton to assess the tooth suitability for a crown. In cosmetic cases involving multiple crowns a diagnostic preview is created by taking impressions of the existing teeth and making a set of plaster models of the teeth. The teeth are reshaped on the models and redesigned with wax to produce a preview so that you can see how the teeth are going to look once the work has been carried out.
The teeth are then prepared and reshaped according to the diagnostic preview and any decay is removed. Impressions are taken of the teeth and sent to laboratory so that a specialised technician can craft the crown and then returned back to the clinic. This process usually takes 2 weeks. A temporary crown is fitted on the same day to protect the underlying tooth structure.
At the follow up appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth cleaned. The crown is secured in place with a special dental adhesive once the fit and appearance has been checked and confirmed.
How long do crowns last?
The life expectancy of the average crown is about 7-10 years but this is dependent on many factors. It is essential to follow a good oral hygiene programme and using interdental cleaning aids. Crowns do not decay but the surrounding tooth structure under the crown is still vulnerable to new decay or gum disease issues.
Ensuring a good standard of hygiene will ensure that your crown will give you many years of service in terms of function and aesthetics.