A crown (or a cap) is a hand-made cover designed to restore a tooth damaged by decay or fracture to its natural look and strength. It has the shape and colour of a natural tooth.
Conventional crowns are made of porcelain bonded to precious metal or gold. Teeth are cut down so that there is enough mechanical retention to support a crown. New techniques however allow for highly aesthetic metal-free porcelain "onlay" crowns to be placed with adhesive techniques, meaning that only a small amount of natural tooth material is removed from the teeth. These 100% porcelain crowns emulate your natural teeth very closely in both look and feel, with all the natural ridges and even a semi-transparency around the edges so no one can tell it's not your original tooth. They are also strong, durable and long-lasting.
As each person is an individual, so is each tooth in your mouth. Each crown is hand-crafted by a skilled dental technician to match the specific shape and colour of your natural teeth.
When is it needed? We recommend a crown when too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or fracture and a filling is not considered strong enough. A crown restores the original shape and function of the tooth. It is strong and is designed to fit in naturally with all your other teeth. It may also be recommended to seal a tooth after procedures such as root canal treatment.
What is involved? Your dentist will start by numbing your tooth. The tooth will then be shaped and any existing decay or old fillings will be removed. An accurate impression is then taken using a rubber-like material. This impression (along with the shade and sometimes a photograph of your other teeth) is sent to a dental ceramicist who will then hand-make the crown from scratch. For crowns at the front of your mouth we may ask you to visit the ceramicist in person so he can make a more accurate shade match. This is so we can achieve the best possible aesthetic results.
Meanwhile, a temporary crown is placed over the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready to be fitted.
Ten days later, the new crown arrives back from the ceramicist and is then “glued” in place. Your dentist may make minor adjustments to make sure you can bite comfortably.
How does teeth whitening affect crowns? The colour of crowns are permanent, they don’t yellow (or whiten) like the rest of your teeth. To make a crown as natural-looking as possible, its colour is matched to the colour of the rest of your teeth at the time the crown is fitted.
If you are considering whitening your teeth, then we recommend doing it BEFORE you fit a crown, so that all your teeth (including the new crown) are the colour you want them to be.