What is a crown?
A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement.
Crowns are used for several reasons:
- as a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth
- as a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings
- to correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape or severe discolouration.
How are crowns made?
If you decide to go ahead with a crown after discussion of your options, The teeth to be crowned are prepared. This involves reduction of the tooth size (usually under local anaesthesia) followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. This reduction of the tooth is required to create space for the crown to be fitted. The mould taken is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the crown. In the meantime, a temporary crown is made and fitted onto the trimmed tooth. At the final visit usually a week later the crown is tried in to check the colour and bite are correct. If the patient and dentist are happy then the crown is then cemented in place with a dental cement.
How long do crowns last and how do I care for them?
Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease.
Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture. Avoid chewing excessively-hard substances like ice or bones. Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health as well as keeping the crown trouble-free. The most vulnerable portion of the crown is the margin or the junction between tooth and crown.
Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend necessary treatment.