Dental crowns

A dental crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a 'cap'.

What is a crown suitable for?

Crowns are an ideal way to repair teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. A crown could be used for a number of other reasons, such as:

  • You may have had a root filling and need a crown to protect what is left of the tooth
  • A crown may help to hold a bridge or denture firmly in place
  • You may have a discoloured filling and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
  • A tooth may break and be too badly broken to be restored with a filling
  • Crowns are also sometimes used to help correct your bite in advanced cases of Tempomandibular joint Disorder (TMD)

What are dental crowns made of?

Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials and new materials are continually being introduced. Some of the most popular options are:-

  • Porcelain bonded to precious or non-precious metal: This is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
  • Porcelain: These crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns. But they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
  • Zirconia: This a popular type of all-ceramic crown.  This modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
  • E-max: These crowns look very natural and can be used anywhere in the mouth.
  • Gold-alloy: Gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it very hardwearing. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.

Did you know..?

Rocksalt and mint was used by Egyptians as toothpaste.  And intricately jewelled toothpick boxes were so prized they were buried with their owners when they died.

How long does the treatment take?

You will need to have at least two visits.
At the first visit, the dentist will prepare the tooth, take the impressions, make a note of the shade of your tooth, and fit a temporary crown.
At the second visit, the dentist will fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 2 weeks between appointments.
When multiple crowns are being produced, there will be an additional visit to try the crowns and make adjustments before finishing the teeth for the final appointment.

How is the tooth prepared for a crown?

The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing a layer of the outer surface, 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, the dentist will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to demonstrate to you the way that your teeth bite together.
The impressions will then be given to John Davies, our dental technician, along with information about the shade to use and other diagnostic information.
John, of the John Davies Dental Laboratory, has worked closely with Clinic 95 for over 3 years.  His talent for creating true-to-life crowns, dentures and implant supported teeth have helped meet the aspirations of the many patients that he has produced work for.

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

No.  You will have a local anaesthetic and the preparation work should feel no different from a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve, and a post crown is being prepared, then you may not need a local anaesthetic.

What is a post crown?

In root-filled teeth, or occasions when a lot of tooth structure above the gum line has disappeared, it may be necessary to insert a post into the tooth root before placing a crown. A post gives support and helps the crown to stay in place. The surface of the tooth may be removed down to the level of the gum.
A post can be made of pre-fabricated stainless steel which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal. Or a custom-made post can be constructed by a dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal.
The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.

Are there any alternatives to post crowns for root-filled teeth?

If a root-filled tooth is not completely broken down, it may be possible for the dentist to build it up again using filling material. This 'core' is then prepared in the same way as a natural tooth and the impressions are taken.

What will happen between visits?

A temporary crown will be made so that you can use the tooth while you wait for the crown to be made. This crown may be more noticeable but is only temporary.

How is the crown fitted at the appointment?

When you and the 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.

Will the crown be noticeable?

The crown will be made to match your other teeth as closely as possible. The shade of the surrounding teeth will be recorded, to make sure that the colour looks natural and matches those teeth.

Will the crown feel different?

Because the shape of the crown will be slightly different from the shape of the tooth before it was crowned, you may be aware of it at first. But within a few days it should feel fine, and you will no longer notice it. The crown may need some adjustment if your bite does not feel comfortable.  If this is the case, you should ask the dentist to check and adjust it.

What can you do to look after your crown?

It is important that you look after your crown just as you would your natural teeth.  So your crown(s) should be cleaned just the same as your normal teeth. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth, so it is important guard against gum disease.  To this end, you should brush last thing at night and at least one other time during the day (ideally with a re-mineralizing fluoride toothpaste), and clean in between your teeth with inter-dental brushes or floss.

How long will a dental crown last?

This depends on how well you look after it. Properly cared for crowns should last for many years.

Dental crowns cost

Please see our treatment costs page for details of pricing, and our 0% finance scheme.