Crowns are generally used when a tooth is broken to the extent that it cannot be repaired using a filling. They help strengthen and secure heavily filled teeth and are often required after root canal treatment to help prevent the remaining tooth structure from breaking down.
It can also be necessary to fit a post into the tooth following root canal treatment to allow adequate foundations to attach the new crown.
Cosmetic crown treatments
Crowns can be used as part of a cosmetic treatment plan where patients request improvement in the appearance of their teeth and where it is not possible to use tooth coloured fillings or porcelain veneers. All crowns require the preparation of the underlying tooth, following which an impression is recorded. Our registered dental technician then constructs the custom made crown which is cemented to the tooth using the latest cements. Particular attention is paid to the appearance and form so that the new crown will correctly mesh with the adjacent and opposing teeth (termed the occlusion).
Crowns for back teeth are generally constructed using gold or a combination of metal and porcelain, where the patient would like the crown to resemble a natural tooth in terms of appearance.
Gold is a good material that is strong and preserves the maximum possible amount of tooth, because it is so strong in thin sections. This allows the most conservative treatment where a crown is required. Due to its strength it is very good for patients who grind their teeth. However, it’s drawback for some is that where it is visible it is obvious, by nature of its colour.
Tooth coloured crowns for back teeth are generally constructed from a metal foundation to which the tooth coloured porcelain is fused to mimic the appearance of a tooth. These crowns are obviously more pleasing aesthetically, but require the removal of more tooth to allow space for both the metal and the porcelain.
Latest developments in crown technologies
The latest development with crowns arrived with the advent of reinforced porcelains. These stronger porcelains allow crowns to be made entirely of porcelain. The benefit is that there is no metal within the crown to block the natural transmission of light, which results in a crown with a more natural appearance. These are especially suited for cosmetics at the front of the mouth. A remarkable transformation is possible if decayed or broken front teeth are replaced with these all-porcelain crowns or veneers, truly allowing the patient to once again “Smile with Confidence”. Images can be seen in our smile gallery showing the transformations which are possible.
Where there is a space from a missing tooth the options to fill it are a denture (plate) which is removable, a bridge, or a dental implant. The bridge and dental implant are fixed in place and hence are the preferred option of many patients.
Here at North Berwick Dental Centre we are highly trained to replace any missing teeth. Where patients want to try and avoid having a removable denture and a dental implant is not an option, it may be possible to fill the space with a bridge.
Bridges are cemented to the adjacent teeth, so unlike dentures do not move and are not removed at night, giving the patient the priceless security of knowing that their false tooth will not move, or cause embarrassment.
There are two ways in which the bridge can be cemented to the adjacent tooth:
- is where there is a thin layer of metal attached to the back of the adjacent tooth (so it is not visible), termed an adhesive bridge.
- termed conventional bridge involves drilling the adjacent tooth, which then in effect is crowned. Depending on the number of missing teeth it may be necessary to crown more than one adjacent tooth.
Like crowns, impressions are required to allow construction of the custom made bridge.
Where appropriate bridges can also be constructed using the same reinforced porcelains which are used for crowns, allowing replacement of missing teeth with very tooth-like materials resulting in enhanced cosmetics.
It should be noted that bridges may not be feasible to replace all missing teeth, depending on the number of missing teeth and their position. A denture may be required, or it may be possible to place a bridge which is supported on dental implants.
Where a space has made a patient feel self-conscious when smiling, the replacement of a missing tooth really can allow patients to “Smile with Confidence”.
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