A dental crown is a cap which can be placed over a damaged tooth to restore its appearance and functionality. Here is a brief explanation of the type of problems a crown can be used to treat, as well as a guide to the fitting process and longevity of this dental device.

What kind of dental problems can be treated with a crown?

Dentists use dental crowns to repair teeth that have been damaged by injury, breakage or decay. They are often used in instances where a patient has a large cavity which spans more than half the width of their tooth. In this type of scenario, the remnants of the tooth would probably be unable to provide the structural support needed to hold a filling securely in place; as a result, a crown would be a more appropriate option.

Dental crowns may also be used to cover up a tooth that has been cracked as a result of impact, or they may be used if a patient has had a root canal performed on a tooth, which has left it weaker and more prone to breakage.

How is a dental crown fitted?

The process of having a dental crown fitted usually requires two visits to a dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will carry out some preparatory work, which will enable them to then fit the crown during the patient's second appointment.

At the initial appointment, the dentist will trim down the patient's tooth to create some room for the dental crown. When they have finished doing this, they will make the mould that will be used to 'build' the crown.

After the crown has been created, the patient will come in for their second visit. Dental cement will be applied to their tooth, and the crown will then be positioned on top. A curing light will then be directed at the cement to harden it.

How long will a dental crown last?

Most dental crowns will last several years. However, the lifespan of this type of dental device depends largely on the material that it is made from. Generally speaking, metal crowns are far more robust than their porcelain or ceramic counterparts. However, because porcelain and ceramic crowns blend in better with a person's existing teeth, they are still often favoured over metal, particularly when the crown needs to be placed over a very visible tooth, such as a central incisor or a canine.