What is a crown?

A crown or ‘cap’ is recommended for strengthening weakened teeth and for improving aesthetics (cosmetic appearance). Crowns can be made from all porcelain for superior aesthetics, porcelain with a gold base (look good with added strength from gold), or gold which is mainly used in back molar teeth where strength is the major issue.

The strongest tooth is a natural tooth that has not been restored, once the tooth has been restored (filled), we start to compromise the natural strength of the tooth.  With general biting, chewing and grinding, the tooth can become weaker.  Fracture lines can occur in the enamel (outer shell) and the restoration, which can cause the tooth to break down and cause sensitivity when biting and with cold and hot foods.

Crowns are also recommended after the completion of root canal therapy, with the nerve of the tooth removed, the tooth dries out and becomes very brittle.  To protect the tooth from fracturing, a crown is placed over the tooth, providing support for the tooth.

Crowns give a fantastic and natural result in improving or changing the aesthetic appearance of anterior (front) teeth.  With crowns we are able to close gaps, straighten crowded teeth, whiten teeth and change the shape or size of teeth.  Porcelain is ideal for anterior crowning, as it is very resistant to staining.

How long does it take?

Two to Three appointments are required for the preparation and bonding of the crown in place.

The first appointment, ranges from one to three hours, depending on the type, position and number of crowns required.   At this appointment the tooth is prepared, to allow space for the crown in your bite, and an impression taken of the prepared tooth. We also record of the shade of the existing tooth, this enables the ceramicist to produce a natural looking crown.  On occasion we may request that you see the ceramicist in their laboratory for a super-accurate shade matching.  A temporary crown is then made and temporarily bonded to the tooth, this is to reduce sensitivity and maintain the function of the tooth in biting and chewing in between the two visits.

 

The second visit is scheduled approximately 14 to 21 days later, at this appointment the crown is closely inspected and trial fitted, the crown margins (where the tooth and crown meets) are checked and the appearance of the crown assessed.  If both dentist and patient are satisfied, the crown is permanently bonded into place. 

Caring for the Crown.

The life of the crown often depends on how well the crown is cared for.  It is important to meticulously clean the crown, its margins and the gums that surround the crown. The dentist or dental hygienist will instruct you on the best methods of removing plaque and food debris.

Biting hard objects should be avoided, as you would with your natural teeth, to prevent fracturing any porcelain.   If you have an extremely heavy bite or grind your teeth at night, we may recommend a night splint to protect both your crown and your existing natural teeth.

 

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