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Dental Crowns:

Dental crowns (sometimes referred to as a ‘cap’) are an effective and common dental treatment for repairing damaged or badly stained teeth. They will improve your tooth’s function and appearance, resulting in a more youthful natural-looking smile.  

 

Reasons to get a dental crown include:

To improve the appearance of a tooth that is slightly crooked or badly stained (where veneers are not suitable);

  • To restore a tooth that has been badly damaged by dental decay and has little natural tooth structure remaining;
  • To protect a tooth that has been weakened due to large fillings or a root canal treatment;
  • To strengthen a tooth that has been chipped/broken or worn down (for example, due to tooth grinding);
  • To hold a dental bridge in place. 

What is a dental crown made from?

There are several different types of crowns available and the best choice depends on a variety of factors, such as tooth position, extent of tooth and gum damage, cost of treatment, your age, the type of dental problem being remedied, etc. We will assess the best type of crown that will be right for you at your appointment and provide you with a thorough treatment plan and quote.

Dental crowns can be made from metal alloys, porcelain fused to metal (‘PFM’ crown), all-porcelain, all-ceramic, all-resin or stainless steel. Some materials are more affordable than others, and also more suited in certain situations.

For instance, all-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns provide an ideal colour match, which makes them extremely popular for your front teeth. Whereas porcelain fused to metal or metal alloy crowns are more popular for your back teeth as these types of crowns are stronger and able to withstand chewing and grinding forces. Stainless steel crowns are mostly used as a temporary measure when protecting a child’s primary tooth from extensive tooth decay.

How long does a dental crown last?

Crowns are a very long-lasting custom-made type of dental restoration. They can last up to 15 years (and sometimes even longer) if you maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleans. 

What is the procedure for a dental crown?

It usually takes two appointments for the placement of a crown. The first appointment involves taking time to listen to your thoughts and expectations and preparing the tooth; the next appointment involves ‘cementing’ in the completed crown that has been made by a professional dental laboratory.

Here’s the procedure in more detail:

The first visit – this entails assessing your teeth and gums to ensure that the tooth and surrounding gum and bone is healthy. This may involve taking x-rays. If there is any decay or infection inside of the tooth you will require the relevant dental treatment, which may include a root canal procedure. We may also discuss any alternative treatment options, including tooth extraction and dental implants, dental veneers, dental bridges and fillings at this appointment.

Once you are happy to proceed with the crown we will take a primary impression of your tooth using a special type of putty material that is placed into a jaw-shaped tray and then used to take impressions of your upper or lower teeth, depending which tooth we are crowning. Sometimes this step can make patients with a gag reflex very anxious; we will do our best to minimize any discomfort during the minute it takes the putty to set by numbing those particular ‘gag spots’ in your mouth. This impression is used to make a temporary crown that will stay in your mouth until the permanent crown is made by the dental lab. It is also at this stage that we will record a tooth colour that will most ideally match the remaining teeth in your mouth so that the permanent crown looks as natural and aesthetically-pleasing as possible.

Next, the area surrounding your tooth is numbed using local anaesthetic and the tooth is filed down into a ‘peg-shape’ to make room for the crown. If you are missing a large portion of your tooth we will build up your tooth, rather than reduce it, to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of structure available to support the crown.

Once the tooth has the appropriate shape, a second impression is taken. This records the new tooth shape and allows the dental technician to make a crown that will accurately fit into the new tooth space. It can take the dental lab up to a week to fabricate this crown. In the meantime we will fit you with a temporary crown that is made from an acrylic material and ‘glued’ into place with a temporary dental adhesive material. This protects the tooth until the permanent crown is placed. It is highly recommended that you try and avoid placing too many crushing/chewing forces on this temporary crown during this period as it may dislodge it. 

The second visit – once we have received your crown from the dental lab, we will remove the temporary crown and ensure that the permanent crown fits into place properly and is a correct colour match. The new crown is then cemented on using a special dental adhesive material. The material sets in under an hour and reaches its full strength within 24 hours. It is advised to avoid biting hard on this area during this time to avoid dislodging the crown. Any small necessary adjustments will be made at this appointment if the crown does not fit comfortably. It is not uncommon to have some sensitivity to temperature or pressure over the next couple of weeks while you’re gums and surrounding teeth adjust to the new crown; this will subside with time.  

How much does a dental crown cost?

Depending on the type of crown you will need, it can cost between $1,100 and $1,500. If you have health insurance the gap payment will be significantly less. We will provide you with a quote at the time of your initial examination. 

We have many years of experience in this specialised area of dentistry. Make an appointment today to come discuss with us which type of crown would best suit you.

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