Crowns are an ideal way to re-build teeth which have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. It has the shape and contour of a natural tooth as the crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth.

There are a number of reasons why you would need a crown. You may have had an accident and damaged the tooth, a large filling may have weakened the tooth or you would like to improve the appearance of a discoloured filling. Crowns also protect root fillings and help hold a bridge or denture in place.

Crowns are made of a variety of materials and with new technology and research, new materials are being introduced continuously. The most common crowns are porcelain bonded to either precious or non-precious metal where a metal base and layers of porcelain are then applied over it. Crowns can also be made of porcelain only, which are not as strong as bonded crowns but they can look very natural. Two other cosmetic natural looking crowns are porcelain and composite resin mixed together, which are still not as strong as bonded metal, and glass crowns which are strong enough to be used on back teeth as well as front teeth. Lastly there is the precious metal alloy crowns which are a gold, palladium and metal alloy mix. These are very strong and hard-wearing but are not usually used at the front of the mouth.

You will need at least two visits to the dentist for this treatment. The first visit is the longest where the tooth is prepared, impressions and shades are taken and a temporary crown is fitted. A local anaesthetic is used during the preparation so it should feel no different than having a filling. Most of the outer surface of the tooth will be removed to about the same thickness of the crown to be fitted. Once the outer surface has been removed an impression of the tooth is taken as well as the opposite jaw by placing putty in a try which fits into your mouth so you can bite onto it. The dentist will then note down the shade of the neighbouring teeth to make sure the crown naturally blends in. At the end of the first appointment a temporary crown, made of plastic or temporary filling material will be fitted. The temporary crown may be noticeable and may irritate your gum.

The impressions and shade notation will be sent to a dental technician who has been trained in making crowns. Firstly they make models of your mouth and teeth, then they make the crown to fit on the models so it will fit your tooth perfectly. They then send everything back to the dentist ready for fitting. This process will take 1-2 weeks.

At your second appointment the temporary crown will be taken off and the permanent crown fitted. We check the fit and appearance of the crown with you and once approved it is cemented in place using dental cement which forms a seal to help hold it in place.

The crown may feel slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was crowned but after a few days it should feel fine and you won't notice it. If the crown feels higher than the surrounding teeth or uncomfortable, your dentist can easily adjust this.

If you look after your crown it can last for many many years. The crown itself cannot decay but there is a risk of decay where the edge of the crown joins the tooth so it is very important to keep this area as clean as your other teeth.

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