Do you have a tooth that doesn’t look the way you would it like to?
Are they discoloured, crooked, chipped or misshapen?
Do you have bits of tooth or filling breaking off?
Crowning your tooth / teeth could be the answer. Crowns are made for a variety of reasons:
- to cosmetically improve the appearance of a tooth / teeth
- to strengthen front / back teeth that are full of fillings
- to build up root filled teeth and strengthen them
There are 3 main types of crowns:
- all ceramic / porcelain crowns
- porcelain bonded to metal crowns (these have a gold metal fitting surface, which has porcelain baked on the outside)
- gold crowns
If you are considering crowns for a cosmetic change then mock up models can be made by the laboratory technician if you want to see a simulation of how things could look. These will show you the results that can be achieved in your individual case.
The dentist will discuss with you exactly what you hope to achieve, and a meeting can be arranged with the laboratory technician to get things just right.
All ceramic crowns
The all porcelain crowns look totally natural, making them the perfect choice for front teeth. As they are only made from porcelain, they transmit light though them, and look exactly like a natural tooth.
New materials allow us to make all porcelain crowns for the back teeth now too, in the past the porcelain’s were too fragile to withstand the biting forces. But now there are a number of different porcelain’s available for this purpose.
Porcelain bonded to metal crowns
The other type of porcelain crowns are made up of a metal core / framework which fits to the tooth, this will have a porcelain baked onto the core. These types of crowns can be used to restore front and back teeth as well, but are not always as translucent as the all porcelain types. They will have a very small area of metal next to the gumline which will be visible only on the tongue / palate side of the crown. It needs this area of metal because this is where the metal and porcelain join. It will be kept as minimal as possible.
These types of crowns are only really used on back teeth and if there isn’t enough room to place a porcelain crown. Sometimes there isn’t enough height of tooth or space between the upper and lower teeth and as an all gold crown can be made thinner, therefore takes up less space than a porcelain crown.
Sometimes patients request to have a gold crown at the front of their mouth because they like the appearance, and this is also possible.
How long will a crown last?
Although no dental restoration lasts forever, the average lifespan of a crown is around 10 years, they can actually last up to 30 years or more with proper care. One reason why a 10 year mark is given is because a dentist can usually provide patients with this number and be confident that a crown that the dental lab makes will last at least this long.
All who are familiar with dentistry will agree that the most important factor affecting the lifespan of any restorative is the continuing oral hygiene performed by the patient. Similar to almost anything, a poorly-made object can last well past its predicted lifetime if it is properly cared for, and even a well-made item can last only a relatively short time if handled improperly. Other factors depend on the skill of the dentist and his lab technician, the material used and appropriate treatment planning and case selection.
What will happen during the surgery visits?
Appointment 1, ‘the crown preparation’
At the first appointment local anaesthetic will need to be given.
Once the numbness has taken effect the tooth /teeth in question can be shaped to retain the laboratory made crowns.
The amount of tooth structure required to be removed will depend on the material(s) being used to restore the tooth. But this is a general guide:
If the tooth is to be restored with a gold crown, the restoration need only be .5 mm in thickness (as gold is very strong), and therefore, a minimum of only .5 mm of space needs to be made for the crown to be placed.
If porcelain is to be applied to the gold crown, an additional minimum of 1 mm of tooth structure needs to be removed to allow for a sufficient thickness of the porcelain to be applied, thus bringing the total tooth reduction to minimally 1.5 mm. The same is to be said for an all porcelain crown.
The next stage today is to take a mould or impression so that the dental laboratory have the information they need to make your new crown(s).
Your surgery made temporary crown(s) will be fixed into place. These will be worn for the next 2 weeks whilst your new crown(s) are being made.
Usually we will ask that you make an appointment to visit the dental laboratory in a few days (Superior Dental Ceramics), Mark who will be making your new crowns will be deciding on the perfect size, shape and colour of the new teeth – this is only applicable if you are having crowns at the front of your mouth, where shade matching is critical.
Appointment 2, ‘the crown fit’
At last, the day you’ve been waiting for. You’re going to be leaving our office with the smile you’ve always dreamed of!
Local anaesthetic will need to be given today. The teeth are ‘live’ and it would be pretty sensitive without.
Once anaesthesia has taken effect, we can take out the temporaries. Then we will try the newly made crown(s) in place and check them for fit, colour and shape. If everything is to your satisfaction then we can fit your new tooth crown(s).
After the treatment
If you have had a few crowns fitted, we will ask that you visit us again in 1-2 weeks so that we can check everything is absolutely perfect. If necessary, any fine adjustments can be made today to your bite etc.