In cases where a tooth has been badly damaged, or is cracking or at risk to break, or is in an unacceptable position, the answer is often a “full coverage restoration”, or crown.
What exactly is a crown?
A crown replaces the outer millimetre or so of a tooth in all dimensions. It is custom-made in a laboratory, and bonded or cemented to the tooth.
What material is a crown made of?
Crowns can be grouped into:
Every one of these materials has their place. Factors include the size and position of the tooth to be crowned, plus the bite force in the area. Your dentist will discuss your options with you.
What is the procedure?
The first visit is not unlike a longer filling appointment. With CEREC crowns, the crown is made and placed in one appointment. For other crowns, the tooth is smoothed down and a very accurate model of the area is taken with a rubber-like material. A temporary plastic cover is made to protect the smoothed tooth for the week or two while the laboratory constructs the crown. When you return, the temporary cover is removed and the crown is tried in. After any minor adjustments are made, it is then cemented or bonded onto the tooth.
What is the difference between a cemented and a bonded crown?
Cement is essentially a glue that fills the microscopic space between the crown and the tooth. Quality dentists use expensive cements that perform well in most situations. With some situations or crown materials, we will treat the crown and the tooth with chemicals and then chemically bond the crown on, an extremely strong result. The dentist can advise you if this is necessary—if so, your second visit will be slightly longer.
How long do crowns last?
This is the most common question we get, and also the hardest to answer. Properly done crowns last a long, long time, and the materials we have today are superior to what we had available even a few years ago. It would be unusual for a crown to last less than ten years, and they may last much longer. Unfortunately we do see crowns done elsewhere that are not lasting. Remember that the procedure is technically demanding and requires expensive materials and laboratory work. Be careful of clinics that may cut corners to try to cut costs—here in the Affinity Dental Group, we never use less than the best materials available.
Like any restorative procedure, a crown is undertaken after planning and consultation. Talk to one of our dentists today about restoring your oral health with custom crowns. As always, we are committed to providing you with the best care available today.