Dental crowns, also commonly known as caps, are artificial coverings designed to improve the appearance of damaged, cracked or broken teeth, as well as to help maintain the tooth’s functionality and prevent further damage or decay.
Fitting a crown involves initial shaping of the tooth before an impression (or mould) is taken using a special putty-like material. A temporary crown is often fitted onto the damaged tooth while the permanent crown is being produced, and is easily removed. Front crowns are made from porcelain (or other ceramic) or porcelain bonded to metal to give a more natural appearance, while those on the back teeth are often produced from just metal to give greater strength. Cemented into place over the existing tooth, crowns or caps can last for many years.
I had crowns and a bridge fitted. Much preparation work was needed and this was carried out with skill and accuracy. If anyone is seeking an excellent dentist who takes pride in his work, I have no hesitation in recommending Dr Hirji.
Crowns and bridges are not usually provided for young patients until the teeth and jaws are fully developed. It is also important that the gums and supporting bone are healthy. Good tooth brushing and use of dental floss are therefore essential before and following treatment. Your dentist will advise you about this.
Crowns and bridges usually take at least two visits (some ceramic systems can be manufactured in the surgery and may not require two visits). The first visit is to prepare the tooth, by smoothing it down, usually with a local anaesthetic. An impression is taken and a temporary crown is constructed. The crown or bridge is then fitted, usually one or two weeks later.
As long as the teeth and gums are maintained by both patient and dentist, crowns and bridges can last for many years. However, no absolute guarantee can ever be given and they may need to be replaced in time. Your dentist is best placed to advise if there are particular reasons that may shorten the normal lifespan of a crown or bridge.
If the tooth is badly broken down, or in very poor shape, then there may be no alternative to a crown. Gaps in the mouth may be replaced by dentures or implants, instead of a bridge. Please discuss this with your dentist if you are uncertain.
When a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled, the dentist may need to crown or ‘cap’ it to restore its appearance and strength.
The usual procedure for fitting a crown involves shaping the tooth under local anaesthetic and then taking an impression using a rubber-like material. The impression is then sent to the laboratory along with the details of the shade to be used, and the technician makes the crown.
While your crown is being made, the prepared tooth can be protected with a temporary crown. This is easily removed just before fitting the permanent one. In most cases, the temporary crown is in place for approximately two weeks.
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials, such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. New materials are continually being introduced. It is a good idea to talk to your dentist about which crown would be best for you.
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