Crowns are a very common dental treatment; they are used to restore teeth that have been damaged, broken or worn down by decay. A crown is also known as a cap as it is placed over the top of the existing portion of the tooth; the crown is shaped and coloured to blend in with the rest of the teeth, making the smile look natural and healthy. Crowns may also be attached to dental bridges or dental implants to replace a missing tooth.
What are crowns made of?
Crowns are usually made of a mixture of porcelain and metal; this ensures the crown is strong and durable but also means it looks natural and bright. Crowns may also be made entirely of porcelain; this is the most attractive option but porcelain crowns are not as strong as other types of crown so they are usually only used on the front teeth. Ceramic and glass crowns are also popular because they produce a very natural, attractive looking smile. Some patients choose to have metal crowns, which are gold or silver in colour; these crowns are very strong but are obviously much bolder and more visible than porcelain and ceramic crowns.
How is the crown fitted?
Before a crown can be fitted the dentist must prepare the affected tooth; this usually involves removing any decayed tissue and making room for the crown. Once the tooth has been prepared, an impression is made and is then sent away to the dental laboratory. Most patients have a temporary crown fitted while the permanent crown is manufactured. Once the new crown has been made it is placed on the tooth and fixed using an adhesive substance; the look and fit of the crown will be checked before the crown is fixed.
Is the procedure painful?
Local anaesthetic is used during the preparation process so patients shouldn�t feel any pain during the procedure.
Will the crown feel strange?
It may take a while to get used to the crown at first, as the tooth will feel slightly different to a normal tooth; once the patient gets used to the crown there should be no discomfort.
How long do crowns last?
If the crown is well looked-after it should last for many years; it is important to brush and floss teeth at least twice a day, visit the dentist regularly and eat a healthy diet to ensure the crown lasts a long time.
How much do crowns cost?
The cost of crowns depends on the material you choose and the dentist or clinic you go to. Porcelain crowns are more expensive than metal crowns. The cost of the treatment can vary considerably so you should ask your dentist about the price of different crowns before you choose which type to have. Typically a crown costs between �250 and �2000.