A crown may be recommended by a dentist to fix a badly broken, cracked or decayed tooth. They are commonly recommended for teeth that have had a root canal treatment, particularly the back premolar and molar teeth.
Artificial crowns are created to fit over the natural tooth after it has been cut back. They provide the tooth with added strength, and durability. They can also improve the appearance of the tooth or teeth when necessary.
Crowns can be made from a number of materials including porcelain, zirconia, gold alloy or a combination of porcelain and metal. The colour of the porcelain and zirconia can be matched to the colour of your other teeth.
Treatment often takes two appointments with your dentist. In the first appointment the dentist will cut back the tooth to reshape it. This is to make sure there is enough space for a new crown to fit on the tooth.
Your dentist needs a copy of your tooth shape to send to a laboratory for a dental technician to create the crown. There are two ways the copy of the tooth may be completed:
- An impression is taken using a jaw-shaped tray filled with a soft, gel-like material that is pushed onto the teeth and held in place for three to five minutes.
- A digital scanner is used to take a 3-dimensional (3D) image of the tooth.
An example of an impression of the teeth during treatment for a crown. Getty Images.
The impression or 3D image is provided to a dental technician who makes the crown. If you are receiving a tooth-coloured crown, your dentist will work with the technician to ensure the colours and any special features match your other teeth as best as possible.
Before leaving this first appointment, your dentist will put a temporary, plastic crown over the reshaped tooth.
On the second visit, the temporary crown is removed from the tooth. The new crown is glued or cemented onto the natural tooth structure.
Some dentists now provide same-day crowns where treatment is provided from start to finish in one day.
Before, during treatment and after crown are placed on the six front teeth. Getty Images.