Dental crowns (commonly called 'caps') are used to protect damaged or broken teeth, protect teeth from breaking (especially after root treatment) or to restore colour or shape in worn teeth. The crown sits on top of the damaged tooth, covering the entire outer surface.
When are crowns used?
Crowns are usually used when a tooth has been damaged to such an extent that fillings or traditional techniques cannot be used for repair. Crowns can also be used to strengthen teeth after root canal treatment and to replace missing teeth in conjunction with an implant.
Crowns can also be used to greatly improve the appearance of teeth, but are generally not used as a first choice for cosmesis as a portion of the tooth needs to be ground away to accommodate the crown. Other less invasive options, such as veneers, are more commonly used for cosmesis.
How are crowns fitted?
Under local anaesthetic, the tooth is cleaned and then reshaped with a burr (a special drill). An impression is then made of your teeth using dental putty, and the mould is sent to a lab. The crown is made by the lab in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, a temporary crown is placed over the reshaped tooth.
When you return to the dentist they will fit the new crown and secure it in place with permanent cement. If you keep up good oral hygiene, then a crown can last for 10-15 years.
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You may also be interested to read our articles on Bridges, Dentures, Implants, Tooth straightening, Tooth whitening, or Veneers
The information provided is as a guide only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding which procedure is right for you. Please also read our disclaimer