What is a crown?

The crown of a tooth is that part which is visible in the mouth. An artificial crown is a restoration that covers the remaining part of a prepared tooth, to protect it and give it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a ‘cap’.

Why would I need a crown?

You may be advised to have a crown to protect what is left of your tooth and prevent it from further damage. This may be the case if your tooth has been weakened by a very large filling or if your tooth has had root canal treatment.

A crown may be placed to improve the appearance of a tooth.
A crown may also be placed to help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.

dental crown maynooth
dental crown maynooth

What is a crown made of?

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are continually being introduced. The most popular types are listed below.

  • Gold-alloy crowns:
    These are very strong and hardwearing. They require less removal of your natural tooth than many other types of crown and are an excellent option for a back tooth. They are gold in colour.
  • Porcelain bonded to metal:
    These crowns are tooth coloured but have a metal substructure to give them strength.
  • All ceramic:
    These contain no metal and can look very natural. They are suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.

How is a crown prepared?

The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This involves removing a layer of the outer surface of the tooth. Different types of crown require different amounts of removal of tooth structure and this is an important factor to take into consideration when choosing which type of crown is best for a particular tooth.

Once the tooth has been shaped the dentist will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth and one of the opposite jaw. The impressions will be given to the dental lab, along with information about the shade of the other teeth.

What is a post-crown?

Sometimes in teeth that have had root canal treatment it may be necessary to insert a post into the root of the tooth before placing a crown. A post gives a better foundation to place the crown onto.

A post can be prefabricated or made in a dental lab. Prefabricated posts made out of a titanium alloy or cabon fibre can be fitted directly into the tooth by a dentist in one visit. A custom-made post can be made in a dental lab to more accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal of the tooth. The post is cemented into the root canal of the tooth and then a crown can be placed.

Are there alternatives to posts for root-filled teeth?

If there is enough of your tooth left, we may be able to build it up again using filling material. This ‘core’ is then prepared in the same way as a natural tooth and then the impressions are taken.


More FAQs

What will happen between visits?

A temporary crown will be made so that you can still chew with your tooth while the crown is being made. A temporary crown doesn’t look as just good as the permanent will but it is only temporary.

How is the crown fitted?

When both you and your dentist are happy with the fit and the look of the new crown, it will be cemented in place with a special dental cement or adhesive.

How long does the treatment take?

You will require at least two visits. The first visit will normally be 1-1.5 hrs. The second visit will normally be 30-45 minutes. The two visits are usually 2-3 weeks apart.

Does it hurt to have a tooth prepared for a crown?

No. The tooth and the gum will be numbed using a local anaesthetic. The preparartion should feel similar to having a filling done.

Will the crown feel different?

The shape of the crown will be slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was crowned. You should get used to this within a few days. If the crown doesn’t feel comfortable after a few days the crown can be adjusted/ polished down as required.

How do I care for my crown?

Crowns probably need slightly even more care and attention than your natural teeth. The crown itself won’t decay but decay can begin at the point where the edge of the crown meets the tooth.

Brush your teeth twice add using fluoride toothpaste and be sure to clean in between the teeth especially beside the crown using an interdental (tepe) brush or floss.

How long will the crown last?

It’s not possible to say how long your crown will last. Crowns can last many many years (decades even) but as dentists we would generally say that if you get 10-15 years out of your crown, you’re not doing too badly. How well you look after you teeth will affect how long it lasts. Other factors that will affect its’ lifespan will include include if you clench/ grind your teeth.

The biggest factor will usually be how much of the tooth there was left when you decided to go ahead with getting the crown done. .

What are the benefits?

Crowns protect weakened teeth from further damage. Crowns can also improve the appearance of discoloured or misshapen teeth

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