Frequently Asked Questions: Crowns
Why would I need a crown?
Your dentist is likely to recommend a crown where a tooth has been weakened. This can be caused by extensive dental decay; large fillings; a fracture/other accidental damage or root canal treatment. A dentist can also use a crown to hold a bridge or denture firmly in place. A crown holds together the remaining tooth and any dental filling material, making it stronger, and greatly improves the appearance of the tooth.
and heavily restored front teeth needing crowns
The same teeth with new all-porcelain crowns fitted
What types of crown are there?
There are several different types of crown that your dentist might recommend:
- All-ceramic crown:
(for example 'Techceram' and 'Procera')
Made from ceramic and porcelain alone.
Excellent aesthetic results and very suitable for front teeth.
- Porcelain bonded to metal crown:
(for example 'Duceragold') Good aesthetics, a strong and hardwearing crown
- Porcelain and composite crown:
(for example 'Targis/Vectris)
Made from a combination of two different materials.
Can look the most natural in certain cases.
- Glass crown:
Made from glass alone. Excellent, natural appearance.
- Precious metal shell crown:
Made from gold and palladium alloys.
Very strong and hard-wearing
Poor aesthetics (they’re metal-coloured)
Your dentist will advise which is best for you.
Old crowns - poor colour and dark margins
The same teeth with new
all-ceramic crowns fitted
How long does a crown last?
A crown should last for many years. However, the life expectancy of any crown isn't all up to your dentist: it is strongly influenced by factors under your own control, such as your diet and how well you look after your teeth.
At Elwy Dental Practice we use a range of different private crown
systems including Techceram, Procera, IPS Empress, and Targis/Vectris. We are so confident of the quality of these crowns that we guarantee our private crowns
against material failure for at least 3 years. Techceram crowns are guaranteed
against material failure for 5 years.
How does a dentist prepare a tooth for a crown?
Your dentist will shape the tooth by removing some of the outer surface. Sometimes the dentist may have to "build up" the core of the tooth (particularly if a lot has broken off) with filling material or put a post into the tooth so that the crown has something to sit on.
Once the dentist has prepared the tooth, an "impression" will be taken of the prepared tooth, and a record of how you bite together. The dentist may also use a special device called a facebow to establish the exact way your jaws move. This ensures that the teeth come together as perfectly as possible once the new crown is in place. The dentist will also record the shade of the adjacent teeth so that the new crown (N.B.: not in the case of a metal shell crown) is an exact match for the other teeth.
Your dentist will fit a temporary crown while the permanent crown is being made so that you don’t have a large gap in the meantime.
Who makes the crown?
The dentist sends the impression, bite records and shade information to a skilled dental technician. Using all this information, the technician makes an accurate model of your mouth in the laboratory. The crown will be constructed on this to ensure that it fits in perfectly.
What does the dentist do next?
The crown is returned to the surgery to be fitted, and you will need a second appointment for this. Your dentist will check to ensure the crown is a good fit and that the shade is a good match for your existing teeth. The crown is then fixed in place using special dental cement. Sometimes the dentist may make tiny adjustments to achieve a perfect fit.
You will be "aware" of the new crown for the first few days after it is fitted - it will inevitably feel a bit odd in your mouth - but after a little while you won’t notice it any more.
What do crowns cost?
Guidelines to costs are listed in our Independent Fee Schedule. Please click
here if you wish to view this.
Are there any alternatives to crowns?
If your dentist has suggested a crown then this is probably because the tooth is weak (see above). It is unlikely that alternative treatments such as fillings, inlays or veneers would be effective. The tooth may well break after they have been placed. If alternatives are viable in your case then your dentist will discuss the options with you.