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Understanding Dental Crowns

A crown is a restoration that covers, or “caps,” a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. They are normally tooth coloured and are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won’t solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked, a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn’t get worse. Crowns are also used to support a large filling when there isn’t enough of the tooth remaining, attach a bridge, protect weak teeth from fracturing, restore fractured teeth, or cover badly shaped or discoloured teeth.

Crowns are stationary and are customarily indicated for teeth that have sustained significant loss of structure, or to replace missing teeth. Crowns may be placed on natural teeth or dental implants.

CEREC Procedure

With CEREC, the procedure of making a crown or inlay can be done in a single appointment, start to finish.
For you, the patient, this means fewer injections, less drilling, no messy impressions and no temporary crown and less time out of your hectic schedule.
As an alternative to taking impressions, a camera is used to take a digital picture of your tooth. This whole process only takes a few minutes.
Your dentist will then create your crown using the CEREC machine. The CEREC software takes the digital picture of your tooth and converts it into a 3-dimensional virtual model on the computer screen. Within a few minutes, your Dentist clicks a button, and your crown design data is sent to a separate milling machine.
A ceramic block that matches your tooth shade is placed in the milling machine. About 10 – 20 minutes later, your all-ceramic, tooth-coloured crown is finished and ready to be cemented into place.
Finally, your Dentist tries the crown in your mouth to ensure it fits correctly. The crown is then polished and bonded to your tooth.

Conventional Procedure

Preparing and fitting a crown requires at least two appointments. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared normally under local anesthetic, and an impression or mould is made of the tooth and a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it whilst the crown is being made. At the subsequent visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is cemented or bonded into place.

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Taking care of your crowns

Besides visiting your dentist and brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth is vital with crowns. Floss or interdental cleaners (specially shaped brushes and sticks) are important tools to remove plaque from the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque in that area can cause dental decay and gum disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

More questions? We’re ready to help. Give us a call at 01480 470570 or book your consultation now.

Dental crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, metal alloys, ceramic, or a combination of materials. Porcelain crowns are popular for their natural appearance, closely resembling the color and translucency of natural teeth. Metal crowns, often made of alloys like gold, offer durability and strength. Ceramic crowns combine aesthetics with strength, making them suitable for both front and back teeth.
The process of getting a dental crown typically involves two visits. During the first visit, our dentist prepares the tooth by removing decay or shaping it to accommodate the crown. We then take impressions for the crown's custom fabrication. A temporary crown may be placed. The second visit involves removing the temporary crown and bonding the permanent crown. The entire process usually takes a few weeks, with variations based on factors like the crown type and the dental laboratory's turnaround time.
The placement of a dental crown is not inherently painful. Before the procedure, the dentist typically administers a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding tissues, ensuring the patient is comfortable during the process. While some individuals may experience mild discomfort or sensitivity after the procedure, it is generally manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers.
With proper care and oral hygiene, dental crowns can last between 10 to 15 years or even longer.
Yes, once the crown is placed, you can eat normally. However, it's essential to avoid chewing on hard objects or using your teeth as tools to prevent damage.
Dental crowns and fillings serve different purposes. While both aim to restore teeth, a filling is used to fill in a cavity caused by decay, and it is typically a direct application of material into the cavity. In contrast, a dental crown is a cap that covers the entire visible portion of a tooth, providing protection and reinforcement for more extensive damage, such as a large fracture or after a root canal.
Dentists may recommend dental crowns for various reasons, including restoring a tooth with extensive decay, reinforcing a weakened tooth, covering a large filling, protecting a fractured or cracked tooth, or enhancing the appearance of a discoloured or misshapen tooth. Additionally, dental crowns are commonly used to cap teeth after root canal procedures, providing structural support and preventing further damage.
Depending on the dental issue, alternatives to dental crowns may include dental fillings, inlays/onlays, veneers, or dental bonding. Each option has specific applications. For instance, dental fillings are suitable for smaller cavities, while veneers address cosmetic concerns. The choice of an alternative depends on factors such as the extent of damage, location in the mouth, and the desired outcome.
The lifespan of a dental crown varies depending on factors such as the materials used, oral hygiene practices, and general wear and tear. On average, dental crowns can last between 10 to 15 years, but some may endure longer with proper care. Regular dental check-ups help monitor the condition of the crown, and if signs of wear or damage are detected, replacement may be recommended.
Maintaining a dental crown involves practicing good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups. It's essential to avoid habits like biting on hard objects, grinding teeth, or using teeth as tools. Additionally, individuals with crowns should attend regular dental cleanings to prevent issues like plaque buildup around the crown margins.
In general, individuals with dental crowns can eat normally. However, it's advisable to exercise caution with extremely hard or sticky foods that may pose a risk to the crown or existing natural teeth. Chewing on ice or using teeth to open packages should be avoided. Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding excessive forces on the crown contribute to its longevity.
While it is uncommon, a dental crown can become loose or dislodged due to factors like decay, trauma, or an improper fit. If this occurs, it is crucial to contact the dentist promptly. Avoid attempting to reattach the crown yourself, as it may lead to further damage. Our dentist will assess the situation, potentially re-cementing the crown or recommending a replacement if necessary.

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