What is a Crown?
A crown (also known as a cap) is a protective cover that sits over a tooth to protect it from damage/ fractures.
Why may I need a crown?
A crown can be used as a permanent restoration after a root filling or to protect a broken- down tooth due to decay or fractures or to simply improve the appearance of a tooth if it is an irregular shape for example.
What happens during the crown preparation procedure?
On the first appointment the tooth will normally be numbed with an injection of local anaesthetic in order to trim down the tooth around all of its surfaces which will ensure the crown will fit correctly. Once the tooth is prepared, impressions will be taken of both the upper and lower teeth which will be sent off to the lab for the crown to be made. The final part of the first appointment will be to make a temporary crown to protect the tooth for a couple of weeks whilst the crown is being made and this will be cemented on with a temporary cement.
The second appointment is usually 2 weeks later. The temporary crown is removed (usually without anaesthetic) and the new crown is placed with a permanent cement. The bite is then checked and adjusted as necessary to make sure it feels comfortable when you bite together.
What kind of crowns are available?
Crowns are made from a variety of different materials:
Porcelain fused to metal or zirconia
Metal including gold alloy
What should I do after I have had the tooth prepared
for the crown?
If you have had the tooth numbed, then you will have a tingling sensation for a few hours after the treatment has been completed. Avoid eating until the numbness has worn off to prevent biting your lip or tongue and to protect the temporary crown. You may use the tooth once the numbness has fully gone but to be aware that the tooth only has a temporary crown which is only cemented on with a temporary cement, so avoid anything hard or chewy to prevent the temporary crown from debonding and coming off.
If the temporary crown came off between the first and second appointment then re-attend the practice to have the crown re-cemented or a new temporary crown made.
It is normal for the tooth to be a little sensitive with the temporary crown.
How long will the crown last for?
Any permanent crown in any material can last up to 15 years and sometimes crowns can last longer than this but it all depends on how you look after it.
How do I look after my crown?
After the crown has been fitted you can treat it like any other tooth. The tooth will still be prone to decay or gum disease like a normal tooth so we advise that you maintain a good, regular oral hygiene regime. It is still possible to use floss or interdental brushes around the crown so try to do this at least once a day along with brushing for 2 minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. We advise that you see your dentist and hygienist regularly so that that tooth can be checked to prolong the life of the crown or catch any problems early.