What is a crown?
A crown is a hollow artificial tooth. Shaped like a little hat, it covers a damaged or weak tooth. This type of dental prosthesis is permanent and can completely restore the appearance of a tooth, making it stronger and more functional.
Do I need a crown?
You may need a crown if:
- A major cavity has left a significant hole in your tooth, weakening it. The tooth cannot support an amalgam or composite restoration
- A former filling needs to be replaced
- Your tooth is broken, cracked or worn down
- Your tooth has been devitalized following a root canal
- Your tooth is discoloured or misshapen
- A dental implant was installed and needs to be covered by an artificial tooth
- Two teeth are acting as pillars for a bridge and need to be covered with crowns
Advantages of crowns
1) Cosmetic appeal
Since a crown covers a tooth completely, it can make your smile look better. Crowns are custom designed and manufactured, taking into account the colour and shape of adjacent teeth for a more natural look.
With proper oral hygiene, avoiding hard foods and stopping bad habits like chewing on pencils, crowns can last more than 10 years. The lifespan of the prosthesis may vary slightly depending on the material used.
Once a crown is installed, the tooth is as solid and as strong as ever.
Because a crown is a permanent prosthesis supported either by the tooth’s natural root, a pivot installed after a root canal, or a dental implant, it feels just like a natural tooth. Crowns are shaped and adjusted to ensure that you can bite comfortably.
5) No extractions
If the root of a tooth is still healthy, installing a crown is the best option. By avoiding having your tooth extracted, you’ll maintain the natural balance in your mouth.
Designing, manufacturing and installing a crown usually requires two sessions.
1) Prepping the tooth
During the first appointment, the dentist will remove any cavity or previous filling. The hole is filled using a filler composite that seals the tooth and creates a solid foundation for the crown.
Using local anaesthetic, the dentist preps the tooth by removing a thin layer of enamel. The tooth is now ready for the crown.
2) Taking impressions
The dentist makes an impression of the prepped tooth and adjacent teeth in order to design the crown with precision. The crown must fit perfectly and should match the shape and colour of your other teeth.
3) Installing a temporary crown
A temporary crown is installed on the tooth right away, protecting it until the next appointment.
4) Manufacturing the crown
Using CEREC technology, the manufacturing process takes very little time. In fact, designing and installing this type of ceramic crown can be done in just one appointment. However, other types of crowns need to be made in a dental lab, which takes about a week.
5) Installing the permanent crown
Once the permanent crown is ready, the dentist removes the temporary crown and secures the permanent crown using dental cement. Careful adjustments are made to ensure comfortable, efficient occlusion. The results are both beautiful and functional.
Materials used to manufacture crowns
There are four main types of crowns:
- Metal (gold)
- All ceramic
- Composite resin
Each type of crown offers different advantages related to durability, appearance and functionality. Your dentist will help you choose the best option for you, taking into account your overall needs and the location of the tooth to be replaced. For example, molars are less visible but need to be very strong because they are used the most for chewing.
Ask your dentist for more information on dental crowns.