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Over time teeth can get damaged for any number of reasons, be it decay, injury, or simple wear and tear. One option is to fit a dental crown.

Dental crowns are hollow tooth-shaped covers or caps that sit over the tooth – a bit like a snug hat. The purpose of a dental crown is to restore the shape, size, appearance and strength of the affected tooth. Once cemented in place, it conceals the visible part of the tooth leaving you with a functional and aesthetically pleasing restoration.

 Before we discuss the dental crown procedure, let’s take a look at why you might need a dental crown.


Reasons to need a dental crown 

There are several reasons that dentists recommend dental crowns. These include:

  • The protection of a weak tooth (possibly decayed) from breakage or to keep the tooth in one piece if parts of it are cracked
  • To cover and support a tooth that has a large filling with very little structure remaining 
  • To hold a dental bridge in place 
  • To restore a broken or severely worn-down tooth
  • To cover a tooth that is misshapen or badly discoloured 
  • To seal a tooth following root canal treatment 
  • To cover a dental implant 


What are dental crowns made from?

A variety of materials including all-ceramic, all-porcelain, metal, all-resin, porcelain-fuse- to-metal, and pressed ceramic is used to make dental crowns. Here at myDentist West Ryde, we prefer to use dental crowns made from E-max, zirconium or porcelain-fused-to-metal.  

E-Max crowns are relatively new to the market. They’re made from lithium disilicate ceramic, a material that’s chosen for its durability and translucency. While they are more expensive than other crowns, they look incredibly natural and most patients consider them to be worth the extra cost. 

So, if you need a dental crown you’re probably wondering what’s involved. So let’s take a look and see. 


The dental crown procedure – What to expect 

Having a dental crown usually involves two dental visits spaced a few weeks apart. 


The first visit  

During this visit, the tooth that’s going to be ‘crowned’ will be examined and prepared.

The dentist will take some x-rays of the tooth before going ahead with the dental crown procedure to be sure there are no signs of infection, tooth decay or injury to the pulp that could necessitate root canal treatment beforehand. 

The tooth pulp is the tissue inside the teeth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

First, the dentist will administer local anaesthesia to numb the affected area of your mouth and ease any discomfort. The tooth that is receiving the dental crown will need to be modified to make room for the crown to fit and involves trimming back the outer tooth enamel across the top and sides. 

Naturally, it depends on the type of dental crowns being used as to how much tooth structure is removed. As a general rule of thumb, Zirconia-fused-to-metal dental crowns are thicker than metal crowns and therefore need more of the tooth structure to be removed. If your tooth has been badly damaged or decayed, a composite resin filling material is likely to be used to build-up sufficient tooth structure before the crown is placed. 

After re-shaping the tooth, an impression will be taken of it using either an intraoral scanner or dental putty. Impressions of the teeth above and below the tooth to be crowned will also be taken. This is done to make sure that the bite is not altered by the dental crown.

The impressions will then be sent to a dental laboratory where a dental technician will make the crown and return it to the dental clinic usually within 2 or 3 weeks.

In the meantime, you will be fitted with a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while your permanent crown is being made. 


The second visit 

The second and final stage of the dental crown procedure is to receive your permanent dental crown. Firstly, the temporary crown will be removed and the colour and fit of the permanent crown will be checked. If everything is fine, a local anaesthetic may be given to numb the tooth as the permanent crown is placed over it. Assuming both dentist and patient are satisfied, the crown is permanently cemented into place. 


Same-day dental crowns 

Same-day crowns may also be offered to patients by dentists that have the necessary equipment. The tooth to be crowned is prepared in the same way as above to create a perfect fit for the crown. In the same-day dental crown procedure, however, a ‘wand’ is used to take digital pictures of your tooth that are sent directly to a computer inside the clinic. Special software is then used to create a digital design which, in turn, is sent to a milling machine that carves out the shape of the crown from a single block of ceramic using a technology known as CAD/CAM. The new crown is made and ready to install in less than 20 minutes. 

That’s it. All you need to know about dental crowns and the procedure. If you’d like to find out more about dental crowns and how they can help your dental situation, why not book an appointment with the experienced dental team at myDentist West Ryde. With over a decade of experience and more than 900 crowns fitted, your smile is in safe hands. 

Call us on (02) 8073 9338 today.


Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner

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