Dental crowns

Sometimes known as a caps, crowns are carefully fitted sleeves that sit over an existing tooth to protect it from further damage, and to improve your overall smile.  

Crowns can hold cracked teeth together and support bridges, and they are often applied as the final step in root canal treatment. They can also cover discoloured teeth to improve the appearance of your teeth.

Why you may need a crown?

A tooth crown may be required if you have a weak or damaged tooth. This ‘sleeve’ fits over the exposed part of the tooth, above the gumline to effectively keep together cracked teeth and prevent further damage. It also protects a worn down tooth from any further wear and tear. A crown may also be fitted where there has been a substantial amount of tooth decay and there is a large filling or a root canal treatment with not enough tooth left to support it. As crowns are shells, they are also used to fit over dental implants or to cover discoloured or misshapen teeth. You may need a crown if you are having a bridge fitted, as they create anchors to hold the bridge in place.

How is a crown fitted? 

Fitting your crown will usually involve two visits to see your Elms Lea Dental Care dentist. The first is an assessment of the tooth and its surrounding area, including the root. This will usually require an x ray. Occasionally a root canal may be required ahead of fitting a crown, if there is any trace of infection or inflamed tissue. The tooth underneath must be as clean and healthy as possible before the crown is fitted. If your tooth is its original size, your dentist may need to file it down to allow the cap to fit snugly in line with the rest of your jaw and not affect your bite.

We take an accurate impression of your tooth to create a perfectly fitting crown that seamlessly sits alongside your existing teeth. A crown will usually take around two to three weeks to create in a dental laboratory, so before it can be fitted you will be provided with a temporary crown. This is usually made out of acrylic and is held in place with temporary cement to keep your mouth looking and feeling healthy while your crown is custom made. A local anesthesia will be be administered before your permanent crown is fully fitted. Your dentist will first remove the replacement before attaching your unique crown using a permanent dental cement.

What are crowns made from?

The application of crowns is one of the longest-standing dental procedures. We can date their use back to the 5th century and the ancient Etruscans, who used gold and silver to ‘cap’ problem teeth. Dental techniques have developed since then, and in today’s practices crowns can be made from a variety of materials:

  • Metal, including gold alloy and other metal-based alloys
  • Zirconia
  • Porcelain
  • Porcelain fused to metal (known as PFM)
  • Porcelain fused to zirconia
  • Ceramic
  • Resin

We recommend the use of porcelain crowns, as they are durable and can be crafted to match the natural shade of your teeth.

How long will a crown last? 

A permanent crown can last between five and 15 years, depending on your habits, lifestyle and oral care routine. Teeth grinding can put pressure on a crown, leading  to cracks and possible damage. If you know that you suffer from clenching or grinding, speak to your Elms Lea Dental Care dentist; they will be able to provide you with advice and possible solutions (such as a mouthguard) to help protect your crown and keep it looking its best into the future.

How shall I look after my crown? 

You can treat your crown like a normal tooth. While it does not require any particular care, remember that it acts as a sleeve over the top of your natural tooth and so decay and gum disease can still occur without a good oral health routine. Keep up regular visits to your local Brighton dental practice and remember to continue to floss around the tooth. When flossing, try to pull the floss through your teeth rather than upwards – sometimes pulling up and out can catch on your crown and contribute to wear and tear.  

If you think that you require crowns, or would like further information on the procedure, contact Elms Lea Dental Care in Brighton today.

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