A dental crown is a custom-made, tooth-shaped covering that acts like a ‘cap’. It is placed over a damaged or decayed tooth to restore its function, shape, size, and strength. Sometimes, dental crowns are used to improve the appearance of teeth that are severely discoloured or misshapen.
Types of dental crowns in Singapore
Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including ceramic and metal. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, and your dentist can help you choose the best option for your specific needs.
- Metal Crown (Metallic Coloured): Metal crowns, made from metals like gold, platinum, or alloys, are known for their durability and strength. They can withstand daily wear and tear, making them a suitable choice for molars and back teeth.
- Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crown (Tooth Coloured): These crowns combine metal strength and porcelain aesthetics to restore damaged teeth. The metal layer provides support, while the outer porcelain layer matches surrounding teeth. They are durable and suitable for front and back teeth. However, they can wear down over time, revealing their underlying metal structure. They also require more tooth shaping.
- Lithium Disilicate Ceramic Crown (Tooth Coloured): Lithium disilicate is a durable ceramic material with high translucency, resembling natural teeth. It provides the best aesthetics for front teeth but may be more prone to chipping and wear over time.
- Zirconia Ceramic Crown (Tooth Coloured) – Zirconia crowns are popular due to their high strength, durability, and aesthetic properties. They are suitable for both front and back teeth.
- Reshaping of the tooth: Firstly, the damaged or decayed portion of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is reshaped to accommodate the dental crown.
- Dental Impression: Next, a dental mould or digital scan of the dental arch is taken and sent to technicians at a dental laboratory. The dental laboratory then uses this impression to fabricate a custom-made dental crown that matches the size, shape, and colour of the surrounding teeth.
- Temporisation: While waiting for the permanent crown from the lab, your dentist will place a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it from damage and to ensure gum health.
- Fit and Cementation of the Final Crown: Once the permanent crown is ready, the dentist will check the fit of the crown and may make further customised adjustments if required. Then, the final crown will be cemented onto the tooth with a strong dental adhesive.
Benefits Of A Dental Crown
Dental crowns can offer a plethora of benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Protection for damaged teeth – Dental crowns provide protection for teeth damaged by cracks, decay and tooth wear by covering and reinforcing the tooth structure.
- Restores function – Crowns help to restore the function of a damaged tooth. This means that having a crown can help to improve your ability to eat and enjoy foods, speak and socialise.
- Improves Appearance – Crowns can be customised to match the colour, size, and shape of your natural teeth, which can improve the appearance of your smile. It can also mask any tooth discolouration which may have occurred as a result of decay or dental trauma.
- Long-term solution – With proper care and maintenance, dental crowns can last for many years, providing a long-term solution for damaged teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dental crowns are a common, safe and effective way to restore severely damaged teeth and to enhance smiles. Compared to a regular filling, they are generally more durable and provide multi-surface protection to the teeth. With proper care and dental check-ups, crowns can last for years. Consult with your dentist to determine if a crown is needed and to choose the best option for your dental needs.
Yes, dental crowns are often placed on teeth that have undergone root canal treatment. This is especially so for the back teeth due to the high biting force. Back teeth which have undergone root canal treatment are at high risk of fracture and subsequent loss without a crown or onlay for protection. The crown provides protection against further damage and restores the tooth’s strength and appearance.
Yes, a dental crown can also be placed on a tooth which has not undergone a root canal treatment if the tooth pulp is healthy. However, for such teeth, there is a small risk that the tooth can lose its vitality over time and may require further treatment (such as a root canal treatment) afterwards.
The lifespan of a dental crown depends on various factors, including oral hygiene practices, diet, and general wear and tear. With proper care, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, dental crowns can last for many years, often 10 years or more.
Dental crowns can be made from materials that closely resemble the colour and appearance of natural teeth, such as ceramic. They can be fabricated to blend seamlessly with your smile, resulting in a natural-looking restoration.