What is a crown?
A dental 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
What are dental crowns made from?
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. They can be made from plastic, ceramic or metal. A combination of metal and ceramic is also possible to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.
How are crowns made?
Firstly, a thorough examination is conducted, by your dentist at Navan Dental. The suitability for crowns is assessed and any preparatory work is carried out. Your dentist will also be able to advise on material choices, treatment sequence, costing options and any other concerns that you may have.
At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are prepared or shaped. This involves reduction of the tooth size (usually under local anaesthetic) followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. This trimming 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 third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth surfaces cleaned. The completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, harmony with the bite, and appearance. Finally, the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth with dental cement.
Crowns - Before and after treatment
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. Crowns on average last between 10 and 15 years.
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.
Types of crowns
Porcelain Crowns (metal free)
These are a type of cosmetic crown, which are made purely from ceramic and no other material. This is in contrast to other types of crowns such as the porcelain fused to metal variety and gold crowns. The defining feature of these crowns is that they are made from a translucent (transparent) material, which is attractive to look at and blends in well with the rest of your teeth.
A zirconia crown is a popular type of all-ceramic crown, which is worn to improve the appearance of a tooth, which has become stained or disfigured over the years. They are durable, easy to wear and long lasting.
The E-Max crown is a type of all-ceramic crown, which is preferred for its longer lasting, aesthetic qualities. This crown and the Zirconia crown are worn due to their highly attractive appearance, which ensures that they complement the rest of your teeth. It is considered a good option for damaged, stained or poor quality teeth. This type of all-ceramic crown has an appealing translucent colour, which is combined with extra strength and durability. This crown is made from a top grade material, which is known for its toughness, durability and opaque qualities, which makes it a highly prized crown.
Metal Ceramic Crowns
Metal ceramic crowns are a traditional type of crown often used in bridges, as well as crown and bridge cases. They are often fitted onto back teeth and are considered a strong, robust type of crown.
Another name for this is a ‘porcelain fused to metal’ crown. They consist of a metal interior or base, which is joined to porcelain on the outside. The metal interior can be produced from a range of metals, and this is what gives this crown its strength.