A crown is a restoration that covers all or the majority of a tooth. Crowns provide additional strength to teeth and can be used to alter the shape and /or colour of a tooth.
A crown can be made of gold, ceramic or porcelain veneered to gold. There are also new ceramic materials such as alumina and zirconium which are similar to porcelain in appearance but significantly stronger. For back teeth gold is still the ‘gold standard’ – its strength and ductility make it the ideal material for use on molars that are subjected to extremely large forces when chewing or in patients who tend to grind or clench their teeth.
We now have access to some wonderful new ceramics, which are enabling us to provide ceramic crowns even on molars.
In most cases, we are able to provide a ceramic crown in one appointment, thanks to our Cerec CAD/CAM equipment. Most patients greatly appreciate the ability to have their treatment completed in a single visit.
There are however, cases where we need to have the crowns made in a dental laboratory. Providing a laboratory-made crown usually requires two appointments.
At the first appointment, the tooth is prepared for the crown and an impression is made. This impression is sent to the dental laboratory where the technician will produce the crown on a model made from the impression. This model is an exact replica of the prepared tooth. For the two weeks that it takes the technician to produce the crown, you will have a temporary crown fitted to the tooth.
At the second appointment, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented or bonded onto the tooth.