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A dental crown is also sometimes referred to as a ‘cap’. This is appropriate as a crown does exactly that. It places a cap on top of a damaged tooth.
They are often used as a protective cover for teeth where teeth are either fractured or where there is a large part of the tooth missing or as a preventative protective measure after a tooth has been root canal treated. They can also be used where a tooth has a large filling to add to the tooth’s integrity or to correct spacing and shaping issues. Cosmetic Crowns are quite commonly used to give patients the smile they always dreamed about.
Full Gold Crowns
One of the strongest materials that a dental crown can be made from is gold. Whilst this is strong though, it is obviously highly visible and may not be suitable for everyone. These are generally used in the back teeth, under the NHS sector.
Porcelain Bonded to Metal Crowns
Whilst the porcelain is used to match the colour of the existing teeth, it is usually bonded to metal to give the crown the additional strength that is needed. This especially applies on the crowns provided on the back teeth of the mouth, which do much of the chewing and grinding whilst eating.
Porcelain Bonded to Gold Crowns
As above, porcelain can be bonded to gold to provide one of the strongest options available for a dental crown. The gold provides a stronger and closer bond to the underlying tooth tissue on account of the malleable nature of gold. In other words, as you chew, the gold tends to mould itself into a better position.
Full Ceramic Crowns
Whilst porcelain is often bonded to metal to give a crown extra strength; in cases where the added strength is not so needed, such as front teeth, full ceramic crowns such as Empress crowns and Inceram crowns may be used instead. These have the advantage of looking more natural and are less likely to show the metal of the crown if gums recede at all. These crowns enable the dentist to give the patient the smile he/she always dreamed about. Please refer to our photo gallery of the cases your dentist has carried out.
Post and Core Crowns
A post is often used where the tooth has deteriorated to the point where there is insufficient structure for a crown to be placed, unless an inner structure to provide further strength, is first created. These inner core structures to support a crown are called a post and core. This is placed into the root canal of a tooth before a crown is attached. These are generally quite successful, but statistics have shown that up to 60-80% of post and core crowns fail within 5 years after the first recementation. It is now more predictable to extract the tooth and replace the tooth with a dental implant.
Please refer to the section about failing post and core treatments and dental implants for further information.
Cosmetic Crowns and Veneers
As well as being used to strengthen the structure of a tooth, crowns may also be used for cosmetic purposes to improve the shape and appearance of a tooth where required.
After an examination has taken place, including the use of radiography, the suitability of the various types of crowns available will be discussed with you at this stage. You will then need to make a second appointment at which, the tooth will be prepared to a specific design to accommodate a veneer or a crown on each respective tooth. An impression will then be taken of the tooth and that will then be sent to a dental laboratory for the crown or veneer to be made especially to fit onto your tooth. A temporary crown/veneer will be fitted for the duration of the preparation period.
At your final appointment, the temporary crown will be removed and the new crown will be fitted and adjusted for a correct bite and will then be firmly attached using dental cement. It will be necessary for further appointments to monitor the crowns/veneers for an initial period afterwards.
It is most important to floss between natural teeth and crowns/veneers as part of your oral health maintenance programme.