Crowns, sometimes called caps, are fixed prosthetic devices that completely cover a tooth.
They are cemented (glued) onto existing teeth or implants. They restore the normal shape and appearance of teeth. They can be used as a stand-alone solution or in multiple units to improve smiles overnight
Crowns are indicated in many situations including large failed fillings, cracked teeth, and root treated teeth. They can be made of many different materials and generally require two visits to complete.
The initial visit involves adjusting the recipient tooth, the second allows for the crown to be fitted/ cemented. There is a small space of a few days between the two visits to allow for the dental technicians to fabricate the bespoke custom made crown. During this time the prepared tooth will have a temporary crown in place.
CEREC Same-Day Crowns – 1 Hour
Imagine a world where you can have a false tooth both made and fitted within one hour, during a single visit. Now imagine that that world already exists.
Thanks to the sophisticated system of CEREC technology (acronym for Ceramic Reconstruction or Chairside Economic Restorations of Esthetic Ceramics) created by Sirona Dental Systems UK, we can now design, fabricate and fit crowns, veneers, inlays, fillings and – in some cases bridges – instantaneously, in what is currently one of the most exciting technologies dentistry has to offer.
Allowing us to replace a damaged or missing tooth with a ceramic material that’s designed to mimic the natural properties of tooth enamel, it truly is revolutionary.
How does it work?
We prepare your tooth as we normally would, except instead of using dental putty to take an impression of your tooth, we coat the tooth with a non-toxic, tasteless powder before taking a digital image with a special camera.
We then convert it into a precise high-definition 3D computerised model of your tooth, which is then used as a guide to design your new restoration. Once satisfied with this, we then send the data to an in-surgery milling machine which constructs your new tooth from a high-quality ceramic block, coming in a wide variety of shades and colours.
Depending on the complexity of the tooth, this can take anywhere from as little to six minutes to 30 minutes – a far cry from the two week wait of old! Your new restoration is then cemented in place onto your prepared tooth and polished – both strengthening and sealing it at the same time.
What are the benefits?
No impressions or temporary restorations are needed
No two-week wait
No need for a second appointment
Better than silver fillings, which add no strength to the tooth and eventually leak, crack and weaken the tooth
Can often save badly broken teeth which would otherwise need to be extracted
Can last up to 20 years or more – unlike metal fillings which need to be replaced after 10 years
Negligible loss of tooth tissue as less drilling is required
NO need for putty based impression
When are crowns needed?
There are lots of occasions when a crown is the right answer to an unsightly tooth problem. Here are just some of the scenarios when a crown is the answer:-
To repair and disguise teeth with large cavities. Plaque and bacteria can accumulate on teeth for several reasons eventually destroying the enamel and causing cavities. Large cavities can be filled however the original tooth may be left significantly weaker and vulnerable as a result. Using a dental crown can protect the repaired tooth from further decay and damage
Broken and fractured teeth. Broken or cracked enamel cannot repair and is the ideal host for bacteria causing decay and potentially more damage. A crown can be used to hold cracked or broken teeth together, keeping plaque and bacteria at bay and restoring the function of the tooth
Chipped or stained teeth and teeth which have been worn down and changed shape. Dental crowns are most commonly used as a practical tool to prevent decay and keep a tooth in working order but they can also have cosmetic benefits as well. Ugly teeth which are still functioning but really spoil the appearance of a smile can be disguised using a crown
Teeth that are unusually small or misshapen. A lovely smile can be completely spoiled by a random tooth that is small or oddly shaped. They also offer a wonderful harbour for food entrapment and debris making them more vulnerable to plaque and decay. A dental crown can ‘big up’ the tooth so it sits more naturally in the arcade and closes up irritating gaps which can be hard to clean effectively
Crowns are an important element of work involving dental implants, bridges or root canal treatment. In root canal treatment, once the root has been cleaned out and treated, a crown is usually fitted to prevent damage and decay and help the tooth to last longer. With a missing tooth, a crown is used alongside dental implants and bridges to help fill the gap
Are crowns permanent?
Dental crowns are designed to be reasonably permanent and are not intended to be removed like dentures.
Which teeth can be crowned?
Almost any tooth in the mouth can have a crown fitted and modern technology even allows crowns to be fitted to teeth which are broken as far down as gum level.
Will crowns straighten my teeth?
Crowns are a tried and trusted method to straighten and realign crooked, odd-shaped and irregular teeth creating a perfect smile and without the need to wear corrective metal braces long-term. Properly designed and fitted, porcelain crowns are almost impossible to distinguish from real teeth and if looked after well, can last for many years. Crowns can even out a smile cosmetically and usually, trial crowns are created first as models to show the patient how their smile can be altered and improved.
What are caps?
Crowns are sometimes referred to as caps but they are the same thing.
Are dental crowns painful?
With modern anaesthetics, it is possible to ensure that the entire crown fitting process is completely pain-free and comfortable for the patient.
Can tooth crowns be replaced?
Old tooth crowns that have been discoloured or damaged and just need upgrading can be removed and replaced. When a crown is removed, the tooth underneath needs to be assessed and there may well be some remedial work required if there is decay present. A temporary crown is fitted until the permanent one is ready.
Here are some signs that a tooth crown needs to be replaced:-
The gum line is receding
There is pain or swelling in the area of the crown
There is clear wear and tear on the crown
The crown has been damaged perhaps through eating or during an accident involving a blow to the face or a sporting injury
The crown doesn’t look fresh and bright and is starting to show signs of age-related deterioration prompting a refresh
Are crowns strong enough when you bite down?
Crowns are designed to behave just like real teeth and can withstand all the pressure and stress that natural jaw movement incurs when speaking and eating.
What type of food should I avoid with crowns?
Hard foods like nuts and tough toffees and sweets all have the potential to fracture or damage a crown as well as your natural teeth and are best avoided. Sticky foods like chewing gum can also pull a crown away from the anchor tooth.
Why is the tooth sensitive after the crown placement procedure?
Some cold sensitivity is normal with a new crown, this will settle down after a couple of weeks. If the tooth remains sensitive when biting then the dentist may need to make some adjustments. It is always advisable to have a follow-up appointment a couple of weeks after a crown has been fitted so you can discuss any concerns you may have with your dentist.
Will tooth crowns stain?
Crowns can stain over time just like regular teeth and stubborn staining on an older crown can be a common reason for a replacement. Staining on crowns, however, is usually less significant than on natural teeth. Reducing the intake of dark liquids like tea, coffee and red wine can minimise staining and help prolong the life of a crown as can reducing smoking or quitting altogether.
How else can a crown be protected?
As well as avoiding very hard or ultra chewy foods, a crown also needs to be protected from damage which might occur during sports; it is advisable to wear a mouthguard. For those people who clench their jaw at night or grind their teeth, a mouth guard which should be custom fitted can help protect the crown as well as the rest of your teeth from damage whilst you sleep. Avoid using your teeth to open packages or envelopes.