Because a crown is fixed over the remaining tooth it is sometimes known as a 'cap'.
A crown is a custom-made artificial restoration that is cemented over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, and usually requires the involvement of a dental laboratory to manufacture
Gareth attended Smilemakers unhappy with the appearance of a very large filling on his upper right central incisor. He had broken this tooth through an unfortunate accident and wanted an aesthetic, long-term solution. After discussing the options, a solution was found in a beautifully crafted ceramic crown, giving a natural result.
See more crown cases in our gallery
Crowns are used for a number of reasons, mainly where veneers or dental bonding restorations don't provide a strong enough solution.
The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown.
Once the tooth is shaped, impressions will be taken and sent to the dental technician, along with other relevant information. A temporary crown is fitted whilst the final crown is made (this usually takes a couple of weeks).
Alternatively, at Dental Practices such as Smilemakers, the crown can sometimes be constructed at the Dental Practice for fitting on the same day
When you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown it will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place.
A post crown is a crown fabricated over a man-made core which is retained by inserting a post into the root of the tooth. They are used when insufficient tooth structure remains to retain a crown.
A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel or white composite material which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal, or a custom-made post can be constructed by the dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal.
The different types of crowns each have their own characteristics and strengths and weaknesses, some of which are listed below. Remember that all of these are relative and the best person to talk to is your Smilemakers dentist!
Porcelain-based, containing no metal. There are different types of All-Ceramic crowns each having their own characteristics.
The best aesthetics of any crown due to the absence of any metal and the gold standard for cosmetic crowns at the front of the mouth (incisors and canines)
Porcelain can fracture and may not be suitable in patients with strong bites and grinding tendencies.
Consist of an outer layer of porcelain bonded to an inner metal core.
Generally stronger than fully porcelain crowns
Good aesthetics can be achieved by a skilled technician
Aesthetics not as good as fully porcelain crowns due to presence of metal core and can result in a dark line around the gum margin especially over time
Porcelain can fracture, the weak point being the join between the metal core and the overlying porcelain.
Consist of gold alloyed with other metals to improve the longevity.
Very strong and the crown least likely to break
Require less tooth removal than any other crown type to prepare
Similar wear rate to natural tooth enamel and therefore less likely to wear opposing teeth
The gold content of the crown alloys a very close fit to be achieve to the underlying tooth
Appearance generally limits their use to molar teeth
High cost due to gold content
Imagine a dental practice where you can go and have your new all-ceramic crown made and fitted during a single visit and within an hour. This is what CEREC technology has made possible. Cerec technology also allows for the construction of porcelain onlays and veneers whilst you wait.
Your dentist will prepare your tooth as for a traditional laboratory-made restoration but at this stage, instead of using "dental putty" to take an impression of your tooth, a digital image is taken using a special camera. This image is then converted into a 3D computerised model of your tooth, which is used as a guide to design your new restoration. Once your dentist is happy with the newly designed tooth, this data is sent to an onsite milling machine, which fabricates your new tooth from a high-quality ceramic block.
The ceramic blocks come in a wide variety of shades and colours, and your tooth will be selected to match your surrounding teeth. Once the crown or veneer has been milled, the dentist may characterise it and stain it to match your surrounding teeth, before either polishing it or glazing it in a furnace. Your new restoration will then be cemented into place onto your prepared tooth.
Everything is carried out in a single visit - you only need to visit the dentist once - take one day away from your work or life to have the procedure - instead of the usual two or three visits.
Your dentist is in complete control of the final result - since the restoration is designed and fabricated from start to finish by your dentist, he/she has total control over how it will look and fit, whereas a crown made in a laboratory is under the control of the technician.
The fact that Cerec restorations are milled from a single block of porcelain can limit their use in more aesthetically demanding cases – your dentist will guide you with regards to this.