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What is a Dental Crown?

A dental Crown is a restoration that is made of an artificial material that can protect cracked, damaged or worn-down teeth. It fits over the remaining part of the tooth and will strengthen the tooth to preserve its functionality.

Why would I need a crown?

A crown is an ideal solution for teeth that have been cracked or broken. A crown can also be recommended for many reasons such as:

  • If you have significant decay in your tooth, and there is not sufficient tooth structure to support any type of filling or inlay.
  • If you have a very large cavity and would prefer to opt for the added protection a crown can offer onto your existing tooth.
  • If a major part of your tooth is fractured and cannot be built up using the traditional methods of composite bonding or filling.
  • If you have had root canal treatment, a crown is often recommended to strengthen the tooth.
  • If you have a poor diet or grind your teeth, acid may erode your teeth and cause your teeth to reduce to a point where the only solution may be to use crowns to maintain functionality.
  • If you have discoloured fillings and want to improve the teeth with a more even coloured look.
  • Crowns are fitted over the abutment of any type of dental implant.
  • Crowns are used to hold any type of bridge in place, and even dentures.
  • For purely aesthetic and cosmetic reasons.

What is a Post Crown?

In a tooth which has had root canal treatment, it may become necessary to insert a type of post before fitting a crown. The weakened part of the tooth is prepared and drilled off to the level of the gum.

A post can typically be made of stainless steel which is inserted into the root canal by the dentist, and will secure the crown in place. Alternatively, a custom made post can be constructed to fit the shape of the prepared root canal.

The post is then placed into the root canal and securely cemented, ready for the crown to be placed.

What are Dental Crowns made of?

In advanced and modern-day Dentistry, a dental crown can be made from a variety of materials. At Rathgar Dental we offer patients the most up-to-date materials. Some of the popular options and materials are listed below:

  • Porcelain bonded to precious metal – this is a popular choice. A base made out of precious metal is constructed, and then layers of porcelain are applied over this metal base.
  • Pure porcelain crowns are made entirely of porcelain, however they are not as strong as porcelain bonded crowns, therefore only recommended for front teeth.
  • Ceramic crowns: this material and technique is a metal-free alternative, and gives the strength of a porcelain bonded crown whilst giving a natural appearance.
  • Zirconium crowns: these are a metal free alterative and 100% biocompatible. They are a slightly more expensive option than the porcelain, but are superior in their strength and durability. Can be used both on front and back teeth.
  • Glass: these crowns can look very natural and can be used on front and back teeth.
  • Gold Crowns: this is made of gold alloy and other metal alloys to increase its strength thus being very hardwearing and durable. They can be white or gold in colour.

What is the process of having a dental crown fitted?

The first step is to have a consultation and treatment planning with the dentist. Once the dentist and yourself have discussed and agreed all the treatment options and the type of crowns you prefer, the dentist will prepare the tooth for crowning.

The first stage is to clean and remove any decay on the tooth that is to be prepared and reshape using a drill, all done under a local anaesthesia. Once prepared, the dentist will then take an impression (mould) of the tooth or teeth using special dental putty.

This mould is then sent to the dental laboratory, where the technicians will then custom make the individual crown (s) which can take a few days or a few weeks. In the meantime, the dentist will fit a temporary crown over the prepared tooth to protect it.

On your second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and the final crown is placed onto the tooth. The dentist will check it’s the right colour and shape and once you are both happy with the restoration, the dentist will firmly cement the crown into place.

How long will a dental crown last?

This will depend on how well you care for your teeth, as dental crowns require the same level of attention and care as your own natural teeth.

Properly cared for crowns can last many years. If you have a good oral hygiene program, attend regular dental check –ups, maintain a healthy and tooth-kind diet, your crowns could last 10-15 years or more.

For more information or to book a consultation!

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