What are Crowns?

Crowns (sometimes known as caps) are a complete covering over your existing natural tooth. They are usually provided for one of the following reasons.

Where there is not enough of your own tooth left to support a filling.
On front teeth which have multiple old fillings and the appearance is poor, or where a front tooth has been damaged and for example a corner is missing.
The teeth are of a general poor appearance and fillings alone will not improve the appearance.
The tooth has been root filled and is liable to break if left with a large filling in it.
The teeth are slightly irregular but a long course of orthodontics is not appropriate.

Making the choice to save your tooth today can make a significant difference in the way you talk, smile and interact with others. Nobody likes to smile if his or her teeth are of a poor appearance.
How long do they last?

The main reasons why failure of crowns occurs is poor maintenance after the crowns have been fitted. There are different types of crown, some are stronger and are therefore better used at the back of the mouth. Some are aesthetically better and are indicated for use on the front teeth. To preserve your new crowns it is important that you clean round them thoroughly twice a day, and that you attend for regular check ups to keep them healthy.
Are Crowns suitable for me?

The answer is almost always YES. Sometimes a tooth is so badly broken down that a crown, which just covers your own tooth, cannot be used. In these cases a reinforcing procedure is used to build up the tooth before placing a crown. On front teeth a post is normally used. The different types of crown are described below.

Ok, So how do we prepare the tooth for a crown?

The tooth or teeth to be treated are numbed with anaesthetic. During the preparation your tooth or teeth are shaped. This allows enough space for the crown to fit and not get in the way of the opposing teeth. After this stage, an impression is taken which is sent to the laboratory for the crowns to be made. This normally takes about a week. Your teeth are fitted with temporary coverage until your next appointment.

At the following appointment, the crown may need to be adjusted for proper fit prior to being cemented permanently. Other factors we consider include: aesthetics, function (chewing and biting accuracy) and tissue compatibility; which means that it allows your gums to sit in a natural, healthy position.

What are the different types of crown I can have?

Under the NHS tooth coloured crowns are routinely provided for anterior teeth, (front teeth). The appearance is very satisfactory, and these crowns are normally very durable as they contain a metal substructure. The shaping of the tooth for this type of crown involves removing about 1.5mm from the sides and top of the tooth.

Where aesthetic demand is high, there are a number of newer porcelain materials and techniques which combine increased strength with a truly remarkably natural appearance, however the high cost of these new materials precludes provision under the terms of the NHS, and are available privately on request.

On molar (back) teeth under the terms of the NHS we will normally provide metal crowns, as these require less tooth reduction, and tend to have wear characteristics which more closely mimic those of a natural tooth.

We hope this brief description answers some of the questions you may have about crowns. If you are unsure about anything please ask any member of our team for further details.