Dental crowns are a very common, popular solution to repair damaged or unsightly teeth. They take the form of a tooth-shaped ‘hat’ that sits over the problem tooth, encasing it entirely right down to the gum line. Crowns are an ideal way to restore the strength, shape, size and overall appearance of any damaged teeth.
Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain fused to metal and 100% porcelain/ceramic. This means that there is usually at least one type of crown that is suitable for every patient.
Crowns are usually only given to adult patients and may be recommended if:
You have a broken or severely worn down tooth.
You have a cracked tooth that needs to be held together.
You have a severely weak tooth that is at risk of breaking.
You have a tooth that requires a larger filling than is possible (usually due to broken/eroded parts of the tooth).
To cover a dental implant.
Your tooth is severely misshapen.
Occasionally we may recommend a crown for primary teeth. This is usually because:
The child has a first tooth that is decayed beyond the treatment of a normal filling and a crown is the best option to protect it.
Dental crowns are an effective way of restoring damaged teeth so that you can continue to use your mouth, jaw, and teeth as you would normally. A dental crown can support and restore strength to a tooth that has:
hiding discolored or stained teeth
adding height or width to teeth that are misshapen or undersized
covering a dental implant
Dental crowns have also been shown to last longer than any other type of dental restoration.
While thousands of dental crown procedures are performed across the country on a daily basis, there are still a few considerations that you should take into account before opting for this type of treatment:
The main disadvantage of crowns is that they require a significant amount of preparation before they can be fitted. This is because the damaged tooth needs to be sculpted down to such a size where the crown can fit comfortably over the top, and so you can expect your tooth to be filed in both height and width. It also possible that in some cases where the original tooth is very badly damaged or has inadequate access, a dental crown may not be able to be fitted.
There is a slight risk of developing symptoms with the tooth after the crown is done that could end up requiring root canal therapy. This can happen for a number of reasons, and happens with approximately 5-10% of teeth.
There is also a minor risk of an allergic reaction. A small number of patients may experience a reaction to the materials used to create the crown, although that is usually with a metal crown, which we use less frequently now that porcelains have become so good.
The life of your crown will vary depending on a number of factors including the amount of wear and tear the tooth is exposed to, and how well you look after your crown and surrounding teeth. However, you can typically expect your new crown to last between 5 and 15 years, but we have patients that have had crowns for over 50 years.
In the majority of cases, crowns are required for functional reasons and as such, are usually covered by most dental insurers, although coverage may be limited to a particular type of crown, for example, metal. Every policy is different, and we will work with you and your insurance company to get the maximum benefit wherever possible.