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What are crowns?

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.


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.