A type of dental restoration where a tooth-like shell completely caps or encircles a tooth, crowns are a relatively commonplace procedure nowadays. Used primarily when a tooth has been extensively filled, has severely cracked or just does not have the structure left to support a filling, crowns can strengthen, restore and even improve the appearance of a tooth.
The procedure for crowning teeth involves first taking an impression of the surrounding teeth, so that the crown fits perfectly in your mouth. The tooth to be crowned will then be considerably reduced (often by up to 75-80%) before the crown is fitted using dental cement.
While crowns can be made from a range of materials, including stainless steel and gold alloys and, most usually, porcelain bonded to a metal substructure. However, recent advancements in material science and bonding technology have allowed for the development of stunning, durable and totally metal-free porcelain or ceramic crowns.
Dr Oliver exclusively uses these ceramic crowns as they are the only solution that closely mimics the characteristics of a natural tooth and provide the perfect nexus of aesthetics and durability.
Dr Oliver subscribes to the biomimetic philosophy of dentistry, where process and materials are chosen based on their ability to protect and preserve natural teeth, as well as imitating them in looks and function.
Crowns, although they are very much a staple in contemporary dentistry, have been virtually abandoned by Dr Oliver in favour of less invasive treatments like overlays and porcelain veneers that conform to the aforementioned biomimetic philosophy of dentistry. Crown treatment requires a significant reduction in the structure of the tooth, and has been used by dentists as an easy treatment solution to badly damaged teeth.
Instead Dr Oliver prefers treatments that are gentler to teeth, are highly durable and aesthetic, like bonded porcelain veneers which require very little tooth reduction and are incredibly strong. Dr Oliver believes that crowns should only be used to replace existing, failed crowns, to restore dental implants and as a last resort for critically damaged teeth.
As with any crown, Dr Oliver’s first step is to carefully reduce the tooth, but only by the bare minimum possible, before taking accurate impressions of the surrounding area to be sent to his laboratory technician who will handcraft the porcelain crown onto a ceramic core. The core itself is extremely durable and the whole crown, when completed, looks totally natural.
There will be a two week interim period between the initial appointment, where the tooth reduction will take place, in which time the crown will be fabricated. At the next appointment Dr Oliver will carry out a final assessment of the crown, checking for a precise fit and visual harmony with the surrounding teeth. Only when both the patient and Dr Oliver are happy with the crown be bonded in place.