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Dental Crowns

What's the difference between a Dental Crown and a Veneer?

Before you read on, it's important to make sure that you're looking at the right information. Crowns and Veneers are both related to smile design and are therefore often mistaken for one another, though the differences are great.

A Veneer is a custom-made, tooth-coloured shell that covers your teeth. They are routinely used to deal with minor, aesthetic issues such as:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Worn down teeth
  • Misaligned or misshapen teeth
  • Unwanted gaps
  • Discoloured or deeply stained teeth

A Crown, however, may be required when your tooth has suffered from major damage, such as severe decay or breakage. It is a prosthetic tooth that allows your damaged teeth to resume functionality.

If after reading this you feel a veneer may be more suitable, please take a look at our Dental Veneers page.

Why should I get a Dental Crown?

If one or more of your teeth have been badly damaged by use, decay, injury, or extensive filling; we may recommend fitting a crown. A crown is a custom-made porcelain tooth that looks like a natural tooth. It is fitted over the site of a damaged one to restore its function and appearance. More than one crown can be linked together to fill a space left by missing teeth - this is known as a bridge.

Crowns not only improve your smile design, but also make your teeth stronger and protect them from further damage.

However, patients may of course be concerned about having a crown fitted. We've taken some of the questions our patients have asked, and provided our answers:

Can any tooth be crowned?

If your tooth has very extensive previous damage, it may not be possible to crown it. However, there are other options available and we'd be more than happy to advise you on these.

Are dental crowns easy to see?

Early crowns were made of weak porcelain and were fused with metal to strengthen them, giving them an unnatural appearance. In today's world however, modern porcelain has been strengthened, thereby removing the need for metal. The porcelain is also designed to bond to the tooth and reproduce the light, shade and colour of natural teeth, so that it's more or less impossible to tell that a crown is not your own tooth.

At Cambridge Dental we believe in the power of aesthetics and we want to help you find the perfect smile design.

What's involved in having a crown?

First we investigate the problem tooth to find out what condition it's in and assess the type of crown you need. We then prepare your mouth, which may sometimes - but not always - mean drilling the tooth to create the space and shape that the new crown will take up.

Then we take impressions of your mouth and discuss the colour and appearance that you want. We send this information to the laboratory where they make the crown. While you're waiting, we fix a temporary crown so that you don't have a gap in your mouth.

Once the crown is made, we fix it into position using a dental adhesive or cement, then check and correct your bite.

Do I need a root canal treatment first?

No, only in exceptional circumstances. In fact, it's best not to have a root canal treatment before you have a crown because a crowned tooth with a healthy nerve inside will last much longer than a root canal-filled tooth. Root canal-filled teeth can, in fact, present particular problems for placing a crown because they may require a retaining post to be inserted into the root.

Will my crown fall out?

When we fit your crown, we fix it with strong polymer adhesives, so it's very unlikely to come away. Usually, the only reason your crown would fall out, would be if it was the wrong shape for your bite, or if the underlying tooth had decayed and broken. At Cambridge Dental, we meticulously plan your treatment, ensuring that we avoid these problems.

You can also take preventative measures by consistently cleaning your mouth thoroughly once the crown is fitted, as this will ensure that the underlying tooth stays healthy and strong.

Will I be able to feel the crown?

When your crown is first fitted, it can feel unfamiliar. Over time however, a well-fitted crown, that has been cemented or bonded to the tooth and correctly adjusted to your mouth, should feel the same as your natural teeth do.

Are crowns expensive?

The initial cost of a crown is high. However, crowns are expected to last at least three times longer than fillings if you care for them properly, making them a cheaper solution in the long-term.

Should I be careful when eating?

While your mouth is being prepared for the crown you may have to temporarily restrict your diet to soft foods. Once the crown is fitted however, it will become a natural part of your mouth and you shouldn't need to change your normal eating patterns. That said, chewing pens, hairpins and other hard objects isn't a good idea - whether or not you have crowns.

Can I forget about crowned teeth?

It's a myth that crowns need less care and attention than natural teeth; they actually need more. The crown itself can't decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth, particularly when they meet below the level of the gum line.

Unseen tooth decay not only makes it more likely the crown will fall out, but will also worsen your oral health overall. It's important to brush well, floss daily and of course make regular visits to our hygienist.

Should I have all my teeth crowned?

No. Crowns are only useful in situations when a filling can't restore the tooth's function, or when a filling is so large that the tooth is vulnerable to further damage and needs additional protection.

Do you offer a Student Discount?

We certainly do. Students can have 10% off any treatment excluding routine examinations, hygiene consultations, x-rays and laboratory work.