Read on for everything you need to know about dental crowns.
Dental crowns are a very common and popular solution to damaged or unsightly teeth. They take the form of a tooth-shaped ‘hat’ that sits over the problem tooth, encasing it entirely right down to the gum line. Crowns are an ideal way to restore the strength, shape, size and overall appearance of any damaged teeth.
Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain fused to metal and 100% porcelain/ceramic. This means that there is usually at least one type of crown that is suitable for every patient.
Crowns are usually only given to adult patients. Your dentist may recommend a crown as the best course of action if:
You have a broken or severely worn down tooth.
You have a cracked tooth that needs to be held together.
If you have a severely weak tooth that is at risk of breaking.
If you are also having a dental bridge, as crowns can help hold them in place.
If you have a tooth that requires a larger filling than is possible (usually due to broken/eroded parts of the tooth).
To cover a dental implant.
If you have a discoloured tooth.
If your tooth is severely misshapen.
Occasionally a dentist may recommend a crown for infant/first teeth. This is usually because:
The child has a first tooth that is decayed beyond the treatment of a normal filling and a crown is the best option to protect it.
The child is, for whatever reason, unable to complete or withstand proper oral care techniques, putting them at a much higher risk of tooth decay and its associated problems.
Dental crowns are an effective way of restoring damaged teeth so that you can continue to use your mouth, jaw and teeth as you would normally. A dental crown can support and restore strength to a tooth that has:
been badly damaged by dental decay
requires support after root canal treatment
is severely worn down, possibly as a result of grinding
is cracked and broken
requires a dental bridge
The cosmetic benefits offered by dental crowns are another key reason why they are a popular choice of treatment. Crowns can improve the appearance of the teeth by:
hiding discolored or stained teeth
adding height or width to teeth that are misshapen or undersized
covering a dental implant
Dental crowns have also shown to last longer than any other type of dental restoration including implants and fillings.
While thousands of dental crown procedures are performed across the country on a daily basis, there are still a few considerations that you should take into account before opting for this type of treatment:
The main disadvantage of crowns is that they require a significant amount of preparation before they can be fitted. This is because the damaged tooth needs to be filed down to such a size where the crown can fit comfortably over the top, and so you can expect your tooth to be filed in both height and width. This usually means that you will need to make several visits to your dentists’ office. It also means that in some cases where the original tooth is very badly damaged or has inadequate access, a dental crown may not be able to be fitted.
There is a slight risk of nerve damage associated with dental crowns and approximately 1-15% of patients will require root canal treatment.
There is also a small risk of infection. If the affected tooth is not thoroughly cleaned out and sealed an infection is more likely to develop. There is also a slight risk of an allergic reaction. A small number of patients may experience a reaction to the materials used to create the crown.
The life of your crown will vary depending on a number of factors including the amount of wear and tear the tooth is exposed to, and how well you look after your crown and surrounding teeth. However, you can typically expect your new crown to last between 5 and 15 years.
In the majority of cases, crowns are required for functional reasons and as such, are usually covered by most dental insurers, although coverage may be limited to a particular type of crown, for example, metal. However, we strongly recommend that you speak to your personal insurer about your individual policy to check that you are covered before you start your procedure.