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Tooth restoration

Publish date: 23/02/2015

Tags: Dental , Teeth

A crown is like a tooth shaped thimble or cap that fits over a tooth. It’s designed to protect a tooth that’s previously had a large filling in it and it’s broken again or after a root filling when there’s little of the remaining natural tooth structure remaining.

Sometimes crowns can be fitted to front teeth to improve the cosmetic look of a tooth. Rather than fitting a crown around the whole tooth, it’s possible to place a veneer over the front surface of the tooth. Usually this is a cosmetic procedure but it’s sometimes used to replace a front filling that’s failing.

An inlay or onlay is a precision filling that’s made to fit a specific cavity. It’s made in the same way as a crown and with the same materials as a crown.

To make a crown your dentist will drill down the existing tooth so it looks like a small peg. An impression (or mould) is then taken using a soft rubber material. A temporary plastic crown will be fitted over the prepared tooth to protect it from damage and stop it reacting to hot and cold and sensitivity. The impression is then sent off to a dental technician to make the crown, inlay or onlay which will fit specifically to your tooth.

There’s usually a second appointment a few days later to fit the crown. When fitting the crown, inlay or onlay dental cement will be used to glue the crown over the tooth. If there’s only a small amount of tooth structure left after a root filling a post may be cemented into the root canal to help hold the crown in place. The excess cement will be removed and your dentist will check your bite is correct.

Inlays and onlays are made in the same way to fill a large cavity in a tooth. The only difference is the temporary covering will be over the affected part of the tooth and done using temporary filling material. Inlays and onlays are made either to colour match the tooth or using yellow gold. Inlays and onlays are not available NHS.

Crowns are available on the NHS and are often made of metal on the inside and porcelain on the outside to give a good aesthetic appearance. Other material used may be gold. Your dentist will discuss which materials are appropriate to use considering your bite, chewing function and smile.

Crowns usually last approximately 10/12 years.

Expand the following collapsed sections to learn more about bridges, dentures, implants and veneers.





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