Have you chipped or damaged a tooth? Or do you just wish to improve the aesthetic appeal of your smile? Dental crowns (or tooth caps) offer a simple solution for restoring and protecting your teeth while creating a beautiful, natural-looking smile.
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What Are Dental Crowns/Tooth Caps?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped, custom-made ‘cap’ that is placed over a tooth, either for protection or cosmetic enhancement. Dental crowns are used to restore a tooth’s shape, size and strength, as well as improving its overall appearance.
Why is a Dental Crown Needed?
Dental crowns are used for many reasons, including:
- Restoring a chipped, cracked or worn-down tooth
- Protecting a weak tooth
- Supporting a dental bridge
- Covering a tooth with a large filling
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering misshaped or discoloured teeth.
From tooth damage to aesthetic preference, dental crowns are able to protect your teeth and help create a beautiful smile.
What Types of Dental Crowns/Tooth Caps Are Available?
There are many different dental crowns available to suit anyone’s needs and budget. Permanent tooth caps can be made from materials including:
Metal crowns are the most long-lasting kinds available. They rarely chip or break, and they cause minimum wear to other teeth. However, because of their distinctive metal colour, these crowns are best for molars.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are a more popular choice as they can be colour-matched to your natural tooth. There is a chance that the porcelain will chip or break, and they also cause more wear to opposing teeth than all-metal crowns.
Resin crowns are a more affordable option compared to other crown types, but they wear down over time and are more susceptible to fractures than crowns made from other materials.
Ceramic or porcelain crowns are not as strong as metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, but they provide the best natural colour match. This makes them the ideal choice for front teeth.
How Well Do Dental Crowns Work?
A dental crown will work just like a natural healthy tooth. They withstand normal biting and chewing forces just like a regular tooth, though they do require maintenance and replacement as they can become loose over time.
How to Prepare for a Crown
Preparing a tooth for a crown generally requires two visits to your dentist. The initial visit involves examining and preparing the tooth and the second involves the placement of the crown.
During the first visit, your dentist may take X-rays to examine the roots of the tooth and its surrounding bone to ensure there is no decay or risk of infection. They will then inject a local anaesthetic to numb the area before filing the tooth to make room for the crown.
Once the tooth has been reshaped, the dentist will make an impression of the tooth with paste or putty. This impression will be the model of your crown, which will be made within 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, your tooth will be fitted with a temporary crown to protect the prepared tooth.
At your second visit, your dentist will remove your temporary crown and cement your permanent crown into place, ensuring the fit and colour is suitable.
How Much Does a Dental Crown Cost?
The cost of a dental crown can depend on which tooth requires the crown and which material you prefer for your crown (e.g. porcelain crowns are usually more expensive than gold crowns).
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