About dental crowns

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 they’re mainly 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 is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that’s 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.

How do you know if you need a dental crown?

You may need a dental crown if you experience any of the following symptoms. Your dentist will assess your mouth and advise if a crown is suitable, or recommend alternative treatment.

A weak or cracked tooth:

A crown can prevent a weak or loose tooth from damage, or hold a cracked tooth together.

A worn down or damaged tooth:

Crowns can support and strengthen a broken or worn-down tooth.

Severe tooth decay:

If you have advanced tooth decay, there won’t be enough tooth remaining for a filling to be suitable. A crown is needed which can strengthen teeth and prevent further damage.

Severely discoloured or misshapen teeth:

Crowns can be used to cover teeth for cosmetic reasons.

As well as the above, dental crowns can also be used to cover a dental implant and keep a bridge in place.

What are the benefits of having a dental crown fitted?

A crown can help support a tooth with a weakened structure or significant damage, 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.

How much do crowns cost?

Crowns are available privately and on the NHS, if considered to be clinically necessary.

Crowns are available at Bupa Dental Care practices throughout the UK. Exact costs depend on which tooth is being treated and which material the crown is made of.

We believe in transparent pricing, so we’ll always explain the full cost to you before beginning any treatment.

Dental crown procedure: what's involved?

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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 are tooth crowns made from?

Depending on which part of your mouth your crown is fitted, tooth caps (crowns) can be made from one or a combination of the following materials.


Porcelain crowns are usually used for teeth near the front of your mouth, as the material looks similar to a natural tooth. Porcelain is also used when a patient has a metal allergy.

Zirconia (ceramic crown):

Zirconia is a strong, white, ceramic material and can be produced 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 (silver tooth caps):

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.

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 restore to a healthy, pink condition.

What are the alternatives to crowns?

If your dentist doesn’t think you’re suitable for a crown, they may recommend one of the following options:

  • Veneers - A dental veneer is a thin moulding, custom-made from porcelain, and bonded to the front surface of a tooth. They’re a quick and effective treatment for chipped, discoloured, misshapen or crooked teeth.
  • 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 matches the colour of your teeth.

Your dentist will be able to advise 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.

Contact your nearest Bupa Dental Care practice

If you think you might need a crown, or are looking to restore your smile, 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.

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