A dental crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes also known as a cap. Crowns are an ideal way to restore teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling.
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials. Here are some of the most popular options:
Porcelain bonded to precious or non-precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious or non-precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
Porcelain crowns: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns, but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
All-ceramic crowns: this modern material is metal free. It can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. This makes it suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
Glass: these crowns look very natural and are used on both front and back teeth.
Gold alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metals to increase its strength, which makes it a very hard-wearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in color.
Crown Preparation and Fitting
The dentist will prepare the tooth so it is the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression (mold) of the prepared tooth, one of the other jaw, and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The impressions will then be given to the dental technician, along with details of the shade to use and other information needed for the crown to be made.
When you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown it will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place.