What is a Crown?
A Crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a ‘cap’.
What is a Post Crown?
In root-filled teeth it may be necessary to insert a post before placing a crown. A post provides support and helps the crown stay in place. The weakened crown of the tooth may be shortened to gum level. A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal, or a custom-made post can be constructed by the dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.
What is a Bridge?
A Bridge is made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of the space, and then joining these two crowns together by placing a false tooth in the space. This is all made in the laboratory and then the pieces are cemented into place with special adhesives. The bridge can’t be removed. Another option is an adhesive bridge. This has wings that are bonded to the back of the supporting teeth with very little drilling involved.
Why would I need a crown?
Crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. A crown could be used for a number of other reasons, for instance:
· you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
· you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it
· it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
What are crowns made of?
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are continually being introduced. Some of the most popular options are listed below.
Porcelain fused to metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious or non-precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
All-ceramic crowns: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
Porcelain fused to zirconia: these crowns are the latest development in material technology in dentistry. A zirconium oxide framework is made and then porcelain applied in layers over it to give an outstandingly natural appearance.
Metal alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it a very hardwearing restoration. These crowns are white or gold in colour.
What are bridges made of?
Bridges usually made of porcelain bonded to precious metal. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength. There are also new bridges made entirely of a special type of strong porcelain.
How long will the crown last?
Properly cared for crowns should last for many years. Your dentist will be able to tell you how long the crown may be expected to last.
The above information has been provided under licence by the British Dental Health Foundation and is copyrighted.