A crown is the most long lasting way we can restore a badly damaged or weak tooth. It is made of metal, porcelain or ceramic, and fits over the remaining tooth like a hat. It is the best way to prevent further damage or breakage of that tooth.
Why might I need a crown?
Although fillings are needed to repair decay, teeth with fillings may be weaker and have a higher risk of fracturing or splitting. As more tooth structure is replaced by larger fillings, either the tooth will break, or the filling, or both.
This risk increases with people that grind their teeth or have other missing tooth which increases the forces each tooth has to endure.
Some people may also get porcelain and ceramic crowns as a long-term cosmetic approach for discoloured, crooked, or uneven front teeth.
Are there alternatives?
Replacing a very large filling with an even bigger one may lead to the tooth being unsavable at a later date (see photo above right). Alternatively the tooth may be extracted, but this will increase the forces and spread the problem to your other remaining teeth. Losing a tooth can lead to drifting and movement of your remaining teeth. This will also affect your bite, jaw joint alignment, and decay risk over time.
What is involved in the procedure?
The tooth is prepared in the same way as having a filling done. An impression is taken and a temporary plastic crown is made to last until the permanent crown is fitted. If you have any problems with the tooth or temporary crown during this period it is very important to let us know. After your new crown is made it is assessed for fit and appearance. If no adjustments are required, it is permanently cemented at this second appointment.