Cosmetic crowns

These are a popular form of treatment for broken or damaged teeth. Commonly known as ‘caps’: they are a type of replacement tooth which fits over a damaged tooth and presents a uniform appearance. They improve the appearance of this damaged tooth which ensures that it fits in with the rest of your teeth.

It is difficult to tell if someone is wearing a crown.

What is a crown?

Another name for this is a ‘restoration’: it is a synthetic type of tooth which is produced from a range of materials and has a similar shape and colour to a natural tooth.

Crowns are often made from porcelain, ceramic or even gold. Sometimes they are a combination of several materials. These are the end result of a fusion between several metals and a porcelain casing. 

We discuss two types of crowns in this section:

Find out more about these crowns in this section.

Porcelain and ceramic crowns are considered superior to the others which are due to the quality of the materials used. Plus they have a natural looking appearance and fit in well with your existing teeth.

As you might expect, the better the quality of crown, i.e. the material used, the more expensive it will be. So a gold crown will cost considerably more than a crown made from several materials.

Advantages of cosmetic crowns

There are several benefits from wearing a crown which include:

  • Repair a damaged or broken tooth as a result of an accident or injury.
  • Hides the results of bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Strengthens the tooth after root canal surgery
  • Extra protection for the tooth after a large filling
  • Prevents the further spread of decay in a weakened tooth
  • Repair a tooth or teeth which are too severely damaged for direct composite bonding.

Plus a crown is an important part of the dental implant procedure in which it is joined to the implant via a device called an ‘abutment’.

Many people choose to wear a crown as a result of an accident but others also choose them for aesthetic reasons. In other words, they are worn to improve the appearance of your existing teeth.

Crowns can last for up to 15 years.

Disadvantages of crowns

It is unusual for there to be any problems with crowns but if something does go wrong then it is likely to occur with a temporary rather than permanent crown.

You are only fitted with a temporary crown whilst waiting for the dental laboratory to create your new, permanent crowns. So this temporary measure will be lighter and less securely fixed than a permanent crown.

As a result of this there is a small risk of it becoming loose and falling out. But the dentist will advise you about the best way of caring for this temporary crown in the meantime.

How is a cosmetic crown fitted?

This procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic. It involves two stages which is very similar to the veneers procedure.

Stage one

This is where the dentist prepares your affected tooth for the crown. He/she will clean this tooth before reshaping it with a small drill. The idea behind this is to ensure that your tooth is in as good a condition as possible and able to accommodate the crown. It also needs to be identical in size and shape to the crown.

The dentist will make a mould of your teeth which is sent away to a dental laboratory for the production of a cast. This cast is used to produce your crown.

You may be asked to wear a temporary crown until this is ready.

Stage two

This is where you will be fitted with your new crown. The dentist will etch the surface of your affected tooth with acid which creates a rough surface. This roughening enables the dental cement to firmly bond with the crown.

He/she then places the crown over your tooth. He/she will check the fitting and positioning before fixing it securely in place with dental cement.

This procedure is for the fitting of a single crown. If you are having several fitted then expect to undergo several sessions as described above.

Other crowns

There are two other types of crowns: porcelain fused to metal and gold.

The porcelain fused to metal crown or PFM for short consist of a series of crowns fixed to a metal alloy base. The problem with this is that the metal base is visible around the gums which some people find off putting.

This is becomes more noticeable as the gums recede. The alternative is an all-ceramic crown.

The porcelain fused to metal crown is discussed in more detail in our metal ceramic crowns section.

Gold crowns are not as popular as all-ceramic crowns for aesthetic reasons. But they are useful in certain cases, such as those people who have a strong bite or tend to grind their teeth.

They are strong and long lasting, and have greater longevity than all ceramic or porcelain fused to metal crowns. So they are worth a consideration. 

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