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Dental Crowns

Dental Crowns

If you want to restore the appearance and function of a damaged tooth and decide to get a crown, you need information about a dental crown's cost, available types and procedure. This information helps you prepare for the procedure and know what to expect before and during your crown fitting.

This guide provides information about everything you should know about a dental crown, including its pros and cons and the different materials used to make a crown. It also shows its procedure, caring for your crown to make it last longer, and its cost in private and public healthcare services.

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is a dental crown?
    1. 1.1 What is the difference between a tooth cap and a crown?
    2. 1.2 What are the benefits of a dental crown?
    3. 1.3 Difference between a full and partial crown
  2. 2. Materials used to make a dental crown
    1. 2.1 Choosing the right crown material
  3. 3. How much is a dental crown in the UK?
    1. 3.1 How much does a tooth crown cost on the private healthcare service?
    2. 3.2 Are porcelain crowns available on the public healthcare service?
    3. 3.3 Private crowns vs public healthcare crowns
    4. 3.4 Reducing dental crown cost
    5. 3.5 Assessing affordable dental crowns abroad
  4. 4. Procedure for a dental crown
    1. 4.1 First visit- preparation
    2. 4.2 Second visit- fitting
    3. 4.3 One-day CEREC crown fitting
    4. 4.4 Recovery
  5. 5. How long do crowns last?
  6. 6. Caring for your capped tooth
    1. 6.1 Temporary dental crown
    2. 6.2 Permanent dental crowns
  7. 7. Alternatives to dental crowns
  8. 8. Conclusion

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a dental restoration shaped like a tooth that covers and encases the tooth's visible part. Dental crowns come in handy for different dental issues, and you can get a dental crown for any of the following reasons.

  • Repair a broken, chipped or cracked tooth
  • Improve the aesthetic of the teeth
  • Provide strength to a weak tooth, particularly after a root canal treatment
  • Repair a decayed tooth that a filling cannot cover.

Crowns are available in different materials. Some materials are metals, and others look like your natural teeth. In the past, the only solution for a severely damaged or decayed tooth was removing it but, with technological advancements, your dentist can save your decayed or damaged tooth and prevent the discomfort of tooth extraction.

A dental crown can restore the entire tooth as a capped tooth feels and function like your natural teeth, unlike a dental filling that repairs only a part of your tooth.

CONTACT US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE EMERGENCY DENTAL TREATMENT THAT YOU NEED.

You will find us at:

54 The Quadrant, St Albans, AL4 9RD

What is the difference between a tooth cap and a crown?

A dental crown and cap refer to the same thing, a covering placed on a damaged tooth. The common and less technical term for a dental crown is 'cap'. However, some people refer to the metal-coloured variant as a crown and the tooth-coloured type as a cap. Your dentist can use the two words interchangeably.

What are the benefits of a dental crown?

A dental crown can restore the function and enhance the aesthetics of a damaged tooth. You can also use it to replace a missing tooth. It strengthens the tooth, improves the alignment, shape and appearance of the tooth.

A temporary crown can be a quick fix for a damaged tooth, but they break easily, so you need to be careful while cleaning your teeth and eating.

Difference between a full and partial crown

Full dental crowns are the most common, but you can get a partial crown, also called an onlay. A partial crown covers a part of the tooth structure, leaving some part of the natural enamel exposed.

Like a regular crown, the dental technician will have to make the partial crown in the lab, and then you'd have it fitted by your dentist. Your dentist might recommend a partial crown if the decay or damage affected only a small part of your tooth.

Materials used to make a dental crown

The common materials used for a dental crown include:

  • Dental ceramic- which includes tooth-coloured zirconia or porcelain
  • Silver-coloured metal alloys- usually non-precious metals
  • Porcelain fused with metal (PFM)- a combination of metal and ceramic material
  • Gold alloys

The temporary crown fitted while waiting for the permanent one is usually a composite or acrylic crown.

The gold dental crowns are not made from pure gold because pure gold would be too soft to support the tooth function. They combine the gold with other stronger materials to make the gold alloy crown. The pure gold in a gold dental crown is between 20% - 77%.

Gold dental crowns are more expensive than crowns made with non-precious metal alloys such as chromium, nickel and cobalt.

Choosing the right crown material

All materials used to make dental crowns have their disadvantages and advantages. Using a crown with a suitable material will depend on the teeth you want to cover, how long you want the crown to last and your teeth aesthetics.

Ceramic crowns are custom-made and built-in layers, which makes them translucent in appearance like natural teeth. Their natural tooth-like appearance makes them a preferred option for covering the front teeth.

Gold dental crowns made with alloy metals are more durable and biocompatible, so they are do not cause allergic reactions. However, they do not match the natural tooth colour, making them obvious even when fitted on aback tooth. Some people decide to make a gold crown more appealing by placing gemstones on it.

PFM dental crowns provide the strength of metal crowns and the aesthetics of porcelain crowns, but they do not always look like natural teeth.

How much is a dental crown in the UK?

In the UK, you can get a dental crown between £650 - £800. Fitting a dental crown on the front teeth is usually more expensive than the back teeth because it takes more time to make the crown look like the natural teeth.

The cost of a dental crown also varies between dental clinics and locations, so you may want to ask around to get a suitable price, especially if you want several dental crowns. Asking your dentist about the different options you have can help you decide on a more affordable option.

The table below gives an estimated cost of the different types of dental crowns and their features.

Type of crown Features Metal Ceramic (porcelain) Porcelain fused to metal
Cost per tooth £650 - £600 £650 - £950 £600 - £850
Durability Long-lasting The least durable, can easily chip or crack The metal inside is strong, but the porcelain can crack or chip
Aesthetics Easily noticeable It looks like the natural teeth Tooth-coloured, but not as translucent as the natural teeth

The prices above do not include any additional treatment you may need, such as root canal or filling. Some dentists offer a slightly lesser price if you want to get more than one dental crown.

Reducing a dental crown cost

Some private dental insurance plans cover part or all costs for a dental crown, so ensure you check if your insurance will cover your treatment. However, most insurance policies have a waiting period and annual limit restricting access to certain dental treatment. You also need to check if your insurance covers other treatments needed before the crown fitting, like a root canal.

You can also explore other dental financing options, such as a dental loan or travelling abroad for treatment if you do not have enough money to pay for your dental crown.

Procedure for a dental crown

First visit- preparation

Getting a dental crown requires the dentist to remove a significant amount of the existing tooth enamel before fitting the crown. Before the dentist removes some parts of the enamel, they may take x-rays of your teeth to ensure the affected tooth is strong enough to hold the implant. Your dentist will also check for any dental problem, then numb your teeth and gums to remove some part of the enamel if there are no complications.

You may need a root canal treatment or surgery to remove some of your gum tissues to create an even base for the dental crown

If the tooth is decayed, your dentist will remove the decayed part and any previous fillings. If only a little tooth structure remains, your dentist will build the teeth using a metal post or filling material.

The dentist will slightly file the top of the teeth to make it thinner for the crown to slip in easily, then take impressions of the tooth to make the crown. Making a crown can take about 2 – 3 weeks, so your dentist will fit a temporary crown to prevent tooth sensitivity.

The temporary dental crown may blend in with your natural teeth, but the crown is usually fragile and doesn't have an attractive finishing. During this appointment, you will choose a material for your crown and its shade.

The first visit to get a dental crown takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Second visit- fitting

When your permanent crown is ready, you will visit your dentist for the fitting. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown, then numb your teeth to prevent sensitivity during the procedure.

The dentist will check if the crown fits, then hold it in place using dental cement. If you do not like the crown fits or looks, ensure you inform your dentist before cementing it.

The fitting time varies and usually depends on the adjustments needs before your dentist cements it to the underlying teeth. On average, the second visit lasts for about 30 – 60 minutes.

You may find the dental crown uncomfortable at first, but you would get used to it within a short while. You have nothing to worry about, except the dental crown interferes with your bite.

CONTACT US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE EMERGENCY DENTAL TREATMENT THAT YOU NEED.

You will find us at:

54 The Quadrant, St Albans, AL4 9RD

One-day CEREC crown fitting

The one-day CEREC crown does not require multiple visits to the dentist, and you do not need a temporary crown. With the CEREC technology, you would have your crown available within an hour after the dentist takes digital scans of your mouth. This technology is more convenient for most people as it cuts down the wait time and doesn't involve the unpleasant putty to take dental impressions.

CEREC crowns are new, so there is no information about their durability. However, dentists believe they are strong but do not match the natural teeth shade, like the hand-made porcelain dental crowns.

The cost of CEREC dental crowns are almost the same as conventional crowns. Although it doesn't involve lab work, the machines used to make them are expensive. CEREC dental crowns are not available on the public healthcare service.

Recovery

When the numbing agent wears off, check if the crown bites properly in all directions. If the crown feels uncomfortable, ensure you contact your dentist. They may need to reshape the crown to function properly.

After the procedure, the capped tooth and surrounding gums may feel sore and painful. Your dentist will inform you of the right way to manage the pain and soreness. You may also feel pain when biting down, but this should subside after a while. If the pain is intense and doesn't subside after a few days, contact your dentist.

How long do crowns last?

A dental crown is a long-term solution for restoring a damaged tooth, but it doesn't last a lifetime. Some materials may last longer than others, but the average lifespan of a dental crown is ten years. Some people have their crowns in place for more than 15 years.

A study on gold-based PFM crowns showed that about 97% of them lasted longer than ten years, and 85% were still in good condition after 25 years.

You will have to replace your dental crown if:

  • It breaks or cracks
  • The underlying tooth decays
  • It causes excessive wearing down of the other teeth
  • The appearance deteriorates

Gold dental crowns are usually stronger but may wear down if the patient experiences tooth grinding. Wearing down other teeth that the crown bites against are also common for porcelain crowns.

Caring for your capped tooth

Temporary dental crown

Avoid sticky and chewy foods when you have a temporary crown. Your meals should mostly comprise soft foods. Hard foods like apples and carrots can also damage your temporary crown.

Try biting or chewing on the side of your mouth without the dental crown, especially if the food is not soft. When flossing, move the floss sideways and do not pull it between the teeth. If you floss as you normally do, the floss thread will dislodge the temporary crown.

Permanent dental crowns

You may need to avoid chewy and hard foods for the first day after fitting the permanent crown, as this gives the crown time to settle in.

You can care for your permanent crown like your natural teeth by flossing and brushing your teeth every day. You can use water floss to avoid the floss thread getting stuck on the edges of the crown.

You may begin to feel pain and sensitivity if your gum starts to recede, so you need to care for your teeth properly to reduce the risk of gum disease.

Dark lines may appear on PFM crowns after a while. This occurs when the ceramic material starts to erode, so you may decide to replace the crown.

If your dental crown comes off or chips, contact your dentist to assess the damage and determine whether you need a new one or not. You can fill a chip with composite resin, but this is a temporary solution, and you may have to get a new crown later. If the dislodged crown is not damaged, your dentist can re-cement it.

Alternatives to dental crowns

You can get a dental crown if the damage is too much to be treated with an onlay or filling but does not require a tooth extraction. If you want to preserve your natural tooth, your dentist may recommend a partial crown.

If you do not want a dental crown, you can consider replacing the tooth with a dental implant. Dental implants require placement in the jawbone and are a permanent solution for replacing a missing tooth. You can also consider a less invasive treatment option, such as veneers.

Conclusion

You can protect your teeth and restore their function by fitting a dental crown. A dental crown can preserve your damaged tooth for more than ten years with proper care. Different dental crown materials are available, and you can opt for any depending on your budget, durability, and aesthetics.

Your dentist can assist you in making an informed decision concerning the type of crown you need or any other alternative to a crown.

You can visit St Albans Dental Care today to see an experienced dentist St Albans for your dental crown placement.

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