Cosmetic Dentistry FAQs: Crowns


What is a crown?

A crown, is sometimes known as a ‘cap’, 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.


Why would I need a crown?

Ideal for restoring broken teeth or those weakened by decay or a very large filling, crowns can also be used instead of discoloured fillings to improve appearance. Alternatively they can protect what is left of the tooth after a root filling or to help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place. 


What is a crown 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 bonded to precious metal:

this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is first produced and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.

Porcelain crowns:

these are made entirely of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns. However, they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.

All-ceramic crowns:

a modern, metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and has the appearance of porcelain. Suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.

Glass crowns:

these look very natural and are used on both front and back teeth.

Gold alloy crowns:

one of the oldest filling materials, gold is used today with other metal alloys to increase its strength for a very hardwearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.


How is a crown prepared?

We first prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for by removing most of the outer surface to leave a strong inner core. The amount removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown. Once the tooth is shaped, we take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. These impressions will then be given to the dental technician, along with an appropriate shade and other information needed for the crown to be made.


What is a post crown?

In root-filled teeth it may be necessary to insert a post to provide support and help the crown stay in place. The weakened part of the tooth may be shortened to gum level. A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel which we 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.