Or Tooth Crowns (commonly know as caps)
When you do not have enough tooth structure left to place a tooth filling or an inlay, then porcelain crowns can usually solve the problem.
A crown is simply a cap placed over a carefully prepared natural or implanted tooth. Once the crown is permanently cemented, your smile and chewing ability is like that or even better than your natural teeth.
There are 2 commonly used types of crown: porcelain-fused to metal crowns and all-ceramic crowns. These are either custom made in a dental lab by hand or are made using a 3D scanning machine called “cerec”.
Crown – porcelain fused
A metal core forms the interior and the basis for exterior porcelain. The metal creates the strength that functions like your natural teeth and the exterior porcelain ensures that the colour and shape matches your existing teeth naturally.
A good quality crown requires at least 8 working days to design, because certain stages of the crown making process, from impressions, to baking, cooling and forming need time. That means that usually have to visit the dentist twice, which means either you should stay for 2 weeks abroad or make 2 return trips, each with an overnight stay.
All ceramic crown
This special type of crown is made from a porcelain like material called zirconium oxide.
Next to your natural teeth, it is almost impossible to differentiate which are your natural or zirconium oxide teeth, due to their translucency – the crowned teeth do not seem darker but much more natural when taken with a flash camera. They also save you from the “grey rim” – sometimes you may notice on older people with porcelain fused crowns, that they have a grey rim around the top. This happens when the gums recede with old age. You can check out these names (procera, zirconia) on the internet, and you’ll see that they are used by the best dentists in the world – but with a huge price tag. Also if you have metal allergy or concerns about metals, the zirconium oxide crown is highly recommended.
The advantages of zirconium oxide crowns are as follows:
- aesthetic, almost impossible to differentiate which are natural and which are zirconium oxide teeth
- strong and withstand the high forces of biting and grinding
- light weight
- does not contain metal, and is biocompatible
How is a computer scanned “cerec” crown made?
The dentist abroad takes an impression of your teeth at the clinic and it is then transformed by a 3D laser scanner into a computer image. The Cerec computer program then designs the crown. This design is then transferred into a milling machine to produce a semi-finished zircon crown. This crown then has to baked to get its final internal material structure. The crown is then built up with special ceramics and composites by dental lab technicians before it is brought back to the clinic for fitting.
The porcelain crown procedure and treatment in steps
1. local anaesthesia
2. the dentist then reshapes your natural tooth to fit the crown
3. the dentist then consults with you, determining the colour, bite, length and shape of the crowns that you want.
4. the dentist then makes impressions of your teeth and the mould is sent to the dental laboratory
5. a temporary crown will be fitted during the time that the crowns are being prepared in the lab.
Visit 2 (usually a couple of weeks after visit 1)
1. the dentist removes your temporary crowns
2. he then fits and cements the new crown on your tooth
3. the dentist checks to see if the crown perfectly fits your bite and overall look.
You can replace one, two, three or four missing teeth next to each other with a porcelain crown bridge. A bridge permanently connects two existing (natural or implanted) teeth, filling in the area left by a missing a tooth or two, three or four teeth. The two ends of the bridge are anchored to natural or implanted teeth. The materials used for creating a bridge are a custom shade of porcelain chosen by you to match your surrounding teeth.
The crowns hold the bridge, and the existing (natural or implanted) teeth, on each side of the missing one(s), hold the crown. The teeth on both sides of the missing one(s) must be prepared as crowns, which will serve as abutments to hold the replacement teeth in place.
Although a bridge can in theory replace even more than 2 missing teeth next to each other, we generally recommend one or two dental implants. A bridge combined with dental implants will result more strength, comfort and a longer lasting solution than a bridge in itself.
The bridge is priced according to “points” which are the same cost as crowns, either porcelain fused or zirconia. Each point is a tooth or missing tooth. The time for preparing a crown bridge is exactly the same as that of single crowns, as the process for making it is exactly the same.
Updated and reviewed by the doctors & medical team of Smile Clinic in Slovakia