A crown can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling, when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discoloured or badly shaped. It’s also used to fit onto a dental implant.
If a tooth is root filled the dentist may have to insert a post before placing a crown. A post provides support and helps the crown stay in place. The weakened crown of the tooth may be shortened to gum level.
There are ready-made stainless steel posts which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal; a custom-made post is made to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.
Crowns are made from various types of materials. Depending on which tooth needs a crown, your dentist will suggest a material, or combination of materials, that is right for you.
Metal crowns: are made of gold. They generally last a long time and won’t chip or break. They tend not to wear down your opposing natural teeth. However, the gold colour does not look natural, particularly on front teeth.
Composite crowns: look natural. They won’t chip as easily as porcelain crowns, but they tend to wear more quickly from chewing. Tooth brushing tends to remove the highly polished surface of composite crowns and this causes them to stain more easily.
Porcelain crowns: look the most natural. They are more brittle than metal or composite and may chip more easily. Because of this, they are not usually placed on back teeth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns: look natural and are stronger than porcelain or composite crowns. They won’t chip as easily as porcelain or ceramic crowns. However, depending on their design, the metal may show if your gums are thin or shrink.
You will need to have at least two visits. The first is to have the tooth prepared, the impressions taken, the shade matched and the temporary crown fitted so that you won’t be worried about gaps in your smile. The second is to fit the permanent crown. We won’t fit your crown until you are happy with it.
Crowns are strong and generally last for about 10 years or longer if you take good care of them. Brush and floss your crown, just like you clean your natural teeth.