Crowns are a common type of dental restoration, which help restore the tooth’s shape and look. Crowns fit over a damaged or fractured tooth, kind of like a cap. Enclosing the part of your tooth that’s visible above the gumline, crowns are often used to strengthen your natural tooth.
Crowns are often made out of porcelain or ceramic and your dentist will usually match these to the colour and texture of your actual tooth. They can also be made out of metal alloys, although you might be able to have porcelain bonded to the metal crown in order to give it a natural look.
A dentist will fit a crown for you by reshaping your tooth and then cementing the crown over your newly shaped tooth.
On this page
- When would I need a dental crown?
- Same-day crowns and CEREC
- How long do crowns last?
When would I need a dental crown?
Your dentist may advise a crown as part of your treatment plan. Crowns are useful for a number of dental issues, like:
- Restoring damaged teeth: whether your tooth was damaged through decay, injury or some other reason, crowns can restore your natural tooth’s functionality and help prevent further damage.
- Supporting weakened teeth: sometimes large fillings leave behind a small amount of natural tooth, but a crown can help protect and preserve what’s left of the tooth structure.
- Cosmetic: if your tooth is discoloured or damaged, crowns can help you change the look of it. Just be careful if you undergo teeth whitening with a crown - the crown won’t respond to bleach in the same way as a natural tooth and you could risk an uneven colour.
- Root canal therapy: it’s common to need a crown after having a root canal. After getting root canal therapy (also called “endodontic therapy”), the remaining tooth is sometimes weaker and vulnerable to bacterial infection. Fitting a crown over your natural tooth can help protect it from further damage. Click here to read more about root canal therapy.
- Dental implants: crowns are sometimes used to attach to a dental implant and replace a missing tooth. Read more about dental implants here.*
Same-day crowns and CEREC
Crowns used to take weeks to complete because the restoration would need to be created in a lab or somewhere else off-site. You’d typically need to wear a temporary crown for a few weeks while you waited for your permanent crown.
Now, we have something called CEREC technology which allows dentists to create your crown in their clinic, often in a single appointment. This helps limit the number of times you need to come into the clinic for your crown. Speak to your dentist to confirm whether they offer this service.
A CEREC machine creates 3D digital images of your teeth to help with precision and accuracy so it can grind the restoration material into the right structure for your teeth. This means the dentist is able to fit your crown in fewer appointments. This technology can be used for many different restorations besides crowns, including inlays and onlays, bridges and veneers.
How long do crowns last?
This depends on the type of crown, as well as factors that are individual to you. Your dentist can give you a more concrete idea of how long your restoration will last. Many restorations last 10 years or more.
You can help increase your crown’s longevity by keeping up a regular hygiene routine. Flossing and brushing at home, as well as professional cleaning, can help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease (read more about oral hygiene here).
If you’d like more information about crowns, talk to a dentist at your local Bupa-owned dental clinic.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.