Crowns for teeth

Modern filling materials are very strong and allow us to restore quite badly broken down teeth. Even when tooth loss is too severe to repair with a conventional filling, a dentist can use a crown to save the tooth. A 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 known as a ‘cap’.

Crowns are used for several reasons; for example to restore a very badly broken down tooth, to improve the appearance of discoloured or misshapen teeth or to protect a tooth that has been root filled and weakened. Crowns are most commonly made of bonded porcelain; a precious metal base is made and porcelain is applied in layers over it. This material is both hard wearing and aesthetically pleasing.

In other cases all porcelain crowns can be used when strength is not an issue. All gold alloy crowns are very strong but can look unsightly. The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing a layer of the outer surface, leaving a strong inner core. Once the tooth is shaped, an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth is taken together with one of the opposite jaw to show the way you bite together. The impressions will then be given to a dental technician, along with details about the shade to use and any other information they need.

A temporary crown will be placed while the permanent crown is being made; this normally takes 1 or 2 weeks. At the second visit the temporary crown is removed, the permanent crown checked for fit and occlusion and cemented permanently into place. Crowns are very long lasting and can provide a strong and visually pleasing solution to many dental problems.

Dr. Paul Saliba

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