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Helping to keep your teeth

What are Crowns?
Crowns are tooth-shaped caps which fit over your teeth.

Why are crowns used? 
Teeth with large fillings (and/or root fillings) are weak, and can break when you bite on or sensitive to hot or cold. A crown will protect a heavily filled tooth.

Crowns can also be used to improve the appearance of your teeth. Your dentist can tell you which of your teeth would best be protected by crowns before problems develop. Occasionally a tooth may need Root Canal Treatment after being crowned. The risk for this is about 15% of all crowned teeth.

What are crowns made of?
Usually porcelain, because the colour can be matched to your existing teeth.  Gold is extremely durable material and will not chip or fracture and is sometimes used at the back of the mouth. Zirconia strengthend Porcelain, like white steel is becoming a popular choice for molar teeth.

How are crowns fitted?
Your dentist reduces the size of the existing filling and tooth to make room for the new crown, then takes a mould which is sent to a Dental Technician. Sometimes the filling in the tooth to be crowned is completely removed to check for decay and to rebuild the tooth for increased strength.

Your dentist will fit a temporary crown to cover your tooth until the permanent crown has been made by a Dental Technician. Once your permanent crown is ready, your dentist will check the fit and appearance before cementing it in place.

I have several heavily filled teeth. Should I get them all crowned at the same time?
It may be best if you do, but there are many factors to consider. Your dentist will discuss the most appropriate order or your treatment plan.

The result
Crowns provide strong, attractive, long term protection for your mouth.

I would like to whiten my teeth. Should I do this first?
Yes, because the crown is made to match the colour of your teeth. If you whiten your teeth later, the crown will not change colour, and will appear darker compared to the rest of your teeth.

*Information supplied with the kind permission of the New Zealand Dental Association*