Crowns, or ‘caps’ as they are sometimes called, are restorations that cover and protect damaged, cracked or broken down teeth. A crown strengthens your existing tooth by holding it together and providing a solid surface for biting on, preventing further fracture of heavily restored teeth.
Crowns can be used to restore both front and back teeth, and the materials used may differ slightly depending on the position of the tooth in the mouth.
Crowns on front teeth are exclusively made with porcelain, as this material has the best aesthetic properties when matching to real teeth. There may be a need to have a strengthening material such as ceramic, metal, or zirconia inside the porcelain, but your dentist and laboratory technician will discuss these options for you.
Crowns on back teeth used to be made from gold alloys and metals, but this practice is now very rare outside the NHS due to improved aesthetics and strengths of other options. At Holly Dental Practice the majority of crowns for back teeth will be manufactured in zirconia (white metal) and then stained to closely match the shade of your tooth. This material is extremely strong in thin section and as such, less natural tooth needs to be removed in order to make enough room for it. Where an even more aesthetic result is preferred over strength, an all-ceramic crown may be offered as an alternative.
Crowns are prepared and fitted over two appointments.
How is it done?
Once the preferred material has been selected, the tooth is prepared to the particular specification to suit this by removing a bit of tooth or filling from each surface of the visible portion of the tooth. A small piece of specialised string, known as retraction cord, is then gently seated between the tooth and the gum for a few minutes prior to taking an impression. This process creates a small temporary space around the tooth, meaning that when the impression is eventually taken, the margins around the tooth are picked up extremely accurately and the resulting crown will fit perfectly.
Once the impression has been taken, this is then sent along with a shade to our specialist laboratory via a designated collection service. A temporary crown can then made immediately and fitted over the tooth to protect it whilst the permanent crown is made.
Over the next two weeks the crown is then fabricated and returned to the practice ready for the second appointment. The temporary crown is then carefully removed and the new crown cemented or bonded in position, again depending on the material used.
Examples from our Preston surgery
This patient suffered trauma to her face which resulted in the immediate loss of her upper left lateral tooth. She had been seen at hospital where the emergency team had placed a wire retainer on her front teeth to stabilise them after the impact.
Her missing upper lateral was then replaced with a dental implant, placed by our surgeon Jonathan Kennair. Root canal treatment was needed to save another tooth. Once this had settled and the implant had integrated into the jaw bone several months later, her teeth and implant were restored with new crowns by Andrew Holly.
"Am so happy and grateful for what this practice and the staff have done for me. They were challenged with a problem and from day 1 I could not fault the service and patience that I have received. Not only did I feel welcomed and reassured but I walked out today feeling a lot more confident about my smile than I ever have. I am truly in debt to these wonderful dentists and I would recommend them to everyone. Thank you for putting a huge smile on my face, that we have thanks to these brilliant people xx"
This young gentleman presented to us with concerns over his front teeth. They had been damaged in the past through acid erosion and grinding. To achieve this result, he firstly had tooth whitening to improve the general colour of his teeth. We then placed four crowns on his upper anterior teeth to improve the aesthetics. He now wears a guard at night to prevent any further damage to his teeth and new crowns.
This new patient to us hated her teeth – She had uneven teeth and failing crowns in her upper arch and a very poor fitting denture in her lower arch. She wanted a new smile in time for her son’s wedding day.
One of her upper central teeth was un-saveable; this missing tooth was replaced with a fixed bridge. Can you guess which tooth is missing? Crowns were placed on the remaining anterior/premolar teeth to achieve an even, natural result.
Her lower partial acrylic denture was then replaced with better fitting – and looking - chrome denture. What a difference!