Crowns, or “caps” as they are sometimes called, are custom-made covers for teeth that have either had a root canal (leaving very little tooth structure), teeth that are cracked or weakened, or teeth that are so decayed that a regular filling isn’t enough.
A dental crown can be used to rebuild or support a damaged or root-filled tooth or replace a missing tooth. When a missing tooth is being replaced, an implant is required before the implant crown can be added. If one does not want to use a dental crown, a large filling can also be used as a temporary treatment instead. The cost to fill and re-fill a tooth ten times can be a lot more expensive than the cost to crown that tooth at the beginning. If 50% or more of the tooth structure is lost and is replaced with a large filling, that tooth needs to be protected and strengthened with a crown. To prevent ongoing maintenance or repair of the tooth impacting further damage (or sensitivity), and potential infection, eg nerve death, a crown is recommended.
A dental crown treatment involves two appointments.
At the first appointment, we prepare the tooth by making it small enough for the crown to fit over. Next, we mould an impression of that tooth so that the crown being made will fit between the teeth on either side of it. At the end of this visit, we attach a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the permanent crown is ready.
At the second visit, we cement the custom-made permanent crown and make sure that it feels comfortable and natural, and that the bite is correct.
Following this procedure, a crown should last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene and routine dental examinations and cleanings. Generally, we use a porcelain material to make the crown or “cap” as it is the most natural material to match the other teeth.