A dental crown is a tooth-shaped sleeve made of porcelain or metal or a combination of both that is placed over a tooth. These may be recommended to cover a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength and to improve its appearance.
Why is a dental crown needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
✓ Protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
✓ Restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
✓ Cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
✓ Hold a dental bridge in place
✓ Cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth
✓ Cover a dental implant
What steps are involved in preparing a tooth for a crown?
First Visit: Examining and preparing the tooth
Your dentist may take a few X-rays to check the health of the roots of the tooth receiving the crown and the surrounding bone.
Your dentist will anaesthetise (numb) your tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth. Next, the tooth receiving the crown is filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, your dentist will make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown.
The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory where the crown will be manufactured. If your crown is made of porcelain, your dentist will also select the shade that most closely matches the colour of the neighboring teeth. During this first visit your dentist will make a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while the crown is being made.
Second visit: Receiving the permanent dental crown
At your second visit, your dentist will remove your temporary crown and check the fit and colour of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anaesthetic may be used to numb the tooth and the new crown is permanently cemented in place.