Crowns are an ideal way to rebuild teeth which have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. The crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. Crowns are sometimes also known as ‘caps’. An ‘Anterior Crown’ is a crown fitted to the front six teeth.
There are a number of reasons
- The tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling.
- 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.
- You may have had an accident and damaged the tooth.
- It may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
Crowns are made of a variety of materials and new materials are being introduced all the time. Here are some of the options available at present:
Porcelain bonded to metal: This is what most crowns are made from. A metal base is made and layers of porcelain are then applied over it.
E-Max: These crowns are as strong as bonded crowns but they look very natural and are used for front or back teeth. The inner shell is also white.
Zirconia: They are in use recently and are tooth coloured. They are particularly useful in patients who clench and grind the teeth. On its own they can be used for back teeth and with addition of porcelain can be used in front teeth.
Precious metal (gold and palladium): These crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are not usually used at the front of the mouth, where they are highly visible. Not all crowns are available on the NHS. Normally NHS advice crown where this is an absolute necessity and a normal filling is not sufficient to replace the decayed part of the tooth. Metal crowns are available for back teeth on NHS and white porcelain to metal bonded crowns for front teeth. Any high aesthetic crown being considered ‘cosmetic’ are available privately. Please ask your dentist for details.
Bridge to replace missing teeth: A bridge is an artificial prosthetic device used to replace one or more missing tooth. This can be borne out of crowns supported by adjacent teeth, in a conventional manner. In the era of adhesive dentistry there are bridges made out of wing units which are bonded to adjacent teeth with minimal preparation.
In today’s world of Implant Dentistry the missing tooth or teeth can be replaced by dental implants. You can find more details in the dental implant page.