A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over your tooth. It’s a permanent solution and once it’s fixed in place, a crown should look, feel and function just like any other tooth.

Crowns are usually needed if you have a damaged or weakened tooth that can’t be fixed with a filling. Sometimes people have crowns for cosmetic reasons, but mainly it’s due to a lack of remaining tooth structure.

Most commonly, this is because a tooth has had a large filling, sustained a fracture or has become weaker due to root canal treatment

What are the benefits of having a dental crown fitted?

If your tooth has significant damage or a weakened structure, a crown can help support that tooth and prevent further decay, preserving your natural tooth for the future. Crowns can also improve the appearance of a tooth that is chipped or stained, restoring the tooth to its usual shape and colour.

As long as you take proper care of your teeth, a dental crown can last for years. Your dentist will advise you on how long you can expect your crown to last and how to maintain it.

Contact your nearest Bupa Dental Care practice to find out more about crowns. Our dental care professionals will be happy to discuss your options with you.

What are crowns made from?

Depending on where in your mouth a crown is being fitted, tooth crowns can be made from one or a combination of the following materials:

  • Porcelain: Porcelain crowns are usually used for teeth near the front of your mouth, as the material looks the most similar to a natural tooth. Porcelain is also used when a patient has a metal allergy.
  • Zirconia: Zirconia is a strong, white, ceramic material and can be made thinly, meaning more of your natural tooth structure can be saved. As zirconia can appear opaque, it’s mostly used for back teeth.
  • Metal alloy: Sometimes crowns are made of a combination of metals including nickel, palladium and chromium. Metal alloys rarely chip, are resistant to wear and tear and only require a minimal amount of natural tooth to be removed. They’re usually used for out-of-sight teeth, as they’re not as aesthetically pleasing as porcelain or ceramic.

If you need a crown, your dentist will talk you through all your options, so you can make a decision that’s right for you.

What are the alternatives to crowns?

If your dentist doesn’t think you’re suitable for a crown, or thinks another treatment might be better suited, they might recommend:

  • Veneers -A veneer is a thin moulding custom-made from porcelain, which is bonded to the front surface of a tooth. Veneers are a cosmetic treatment but can also be used to cover gaps in teeth where orthodontic treatment may not be suitable.
  • Fillings - Fillings are used to fill cavities that have formed in your teeth. They help to stop toothache and prevent further decay. There are different types of fillings but the most common are amalgam (metal) and composite, which match the colour of your teeth.

Your dentist will be able to advise you about which treatment is right for you. This will depend on the extent of the damage to your teeth and which teeth are affected. Your local Bupa Dental Care dentist will be happy to discuss your options with you.

How are crowns fitted?

It usually takes two appointments to prepare and fit a crown. During the first visit, your dentist will remove any weakened parts of the tooth and prepare it, so it's equipped to hold the crown.

Your dentist will then take an impression and fit a temporary crown, custom-made by a lab technician according to your dentist's instructions. If the crown is on a visible tooth, your dentist will colour match your crown to the surrounding teeth as closely as possible, to ensure it looks as natural as possible.

At your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the new crown in place, ensuring it sits comfortably alongside the rest of your teeth.

What happens after you have a crown fitted?

After having a crown fitted you may experience some discomfort. The tooth may feel strange and sensitive at first, but this is normal, and will settle in two or three days. There may be some soreness around the gum; but careful brushing will allow the gum to recover to a healthy, pink condition.

Contact your nearest Bupa Dental Care practice

If you think you might need a crown, or are looking for options for restoring teeth, get in touch with your local Bupa Dental Care practice today.

Other ways to restore damaged teeth

Your dentist may recommend a different treatment if a crown isn’t right for you.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.