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Dental Crowns


Dental crowns are a common dental procedure that can improve the longevity, strength and attractiveness of your teeth. They are now routine procedures that provide the best quality dental care with the least amount of discomfort.

Photo of Dental Crown


Dental crowns are caps that fit over a damaged or decayed tooth. They are used to improve teeth that are affected by decay, chips, cracks, or other forms of damage.

Crowns offer both cosmetic and oral health benefits, reinforcing the structure of a tooth while helping to improve your natural smile. They are carefully crafted to complement the surrounding natural teeth in terms of colour, size, shape, and texture and to restore integrity to the patient's bite.


To make a crown, your dentist will use a rubbery clay type material to make an impression of your current tooth. This tells its size and shape, as well as the size and shape of the teeth on either side of it.

This impression is then sent out to a special lab where a highly skilled technician will make your individual crown according to the dimensions form the impression. There also will be notes from our dentist about the colour and shade of the tooth to be capped. Usually, it takes at least two weeks for the crown to be sent back from the lab. To protect your damaged tooth, your dentist often will place a temporary crown over it. This isn’t as sturdy as a permanent crown and may not last until your crown can be installed. But at least it provides protection for your tooth until your permanent crown is ready.


Dental crowns are recommended to treat a variety of dental issues, including:

  • When a tooth is already broken or has been severely worn down
  • To protect a weakened tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a tooth that is cracked
  • To keep a dental bridge in place
  • To support and cover a tooth that has a large filling when there isn’t a lot of original tooth left
  • To cover a dental implant
  • To cover severely discoloured or misshapen teeth


If tooth decay develops directly adjacent to the pulp, the pulp may not be strong enough to make healthy dentine. In this instance, the pulp may need to be removed by a Melbourne Dentist Clinic dentist or an endodontist, or the entire root may need to be removed by and oral surgeon.

Some dental procedure may cause bacteria present in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body. People with a compromised immune system or who have difficulty fighting infections may need to take antibiotics before and after dental surgery. These include people who:

  • Have artificial joints, such are hips or knees that have been replaced
  • Have a history of bacterial endocarditis
  • Have an impairment to their immune system
  • Have cirrhosis of the liver
  • Have damaged or artificial heart valves
  • Were born with heart defects


Crowns work just like a healthy tooth. But over time crowns can sometimes become loose and need to be cemented back into place or replaced entirely. If the tooth decay is located close to the centre of the tooth and the pulp has been invaded by bacteria, the pulp may die. When this occurs, the crown may need to be removed and a root canal may need to be performed to eliminate the bacteria and dead pulp.


Modern dental crowns can be made of a wide variety of materials, including:

  • Ceramic or Porcelain – Crowns that are made entirely of ceramic or porcelain provide the best colour match than any other type of crowns. They also are used for people with allergies to metals. But these type of crowns are not as strong as other types, such as porcelain fused to metal. They also can wear down opposing teeth more quickly than metal or resin crowns. Porcelain and ceramic crowns frequently are used for front teeth.
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal – Unlike metallic crowns, porcelain fused to metal crowns can be colour matched to adjacent teeth. But wear to opposing teeth happens more frequently with this type of crown. In addition, the porcelain portion of the crown can sometimes chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain fused to meal provides the most normal look. But sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially near the gum line. This is more pronounced as the gums recede. These type of crowns frequently are used for front or back teeth.
  • Metal Crowns – These include crowns that are made of gold alloy, palladium alloy, or a base-metal alloy such as nickel or chromium. They require less tooth structure to be removed compared to other crown types. Plus, wear to other teeth is minimized. Metal crowns can stand up to biting and chewing forces better and typically last the longest in terms of war. They also rarely break or chip. The biggest drawback is the metallic colour. Metal crowns frequently are used for out-of-sight molars.
  • All-Resin Crowns – These are a more affordable option, but they wear down over time and are more prone to breaking than crowns made of porcelain fused to metal.
  • Temporary Crowns – These are used during the period between when an impression is made and the permanent crown is returned form the laboratory. They usually are made of acrylic or stainless steel and are ideal for short-term use.


Typically, getting a crown will require two visits to the Melbourne Dentist Clinic. During the first appointment, an examination will be conducted and the tooth will be prepared for the crown. The permanent crown will be put into place during the second appointment.

  • Your Melbourne Dentist Clinic dentist will examine the tooth and may take a few x-rays to check to the roots and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or there is an increased risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp, the dentist may recommend that root canal be performed first.
  • The next step will be the application of a local anesthetic to numb the teeth, gums, tongue and skin. The tooth receiving the crown will then be filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. How much is removed depends on the type of crown being used (for example, because all-metal crowns are thinner, less tooth has to be removed). Alternatively, if a large portion of the tooth is missing, the dentist may use filling material to build up the tooth so that it is large enough to support the crown.
  • After the tooth has been reshaped, an impression paste or putty is used to make an impression of the tooth that will be receiving the crown. An impression also will be made of the teeth above and below the tooth so that the permanent crown will not affect your bite.
  • These impressions will then be sent to a dental laboratory where they will be used by a dental technician to create your crown according to its precise specifications. Typically, this process takes between two or three weeks. If the crown is made of porcelain, you Melbourne Dentist Clinic dentist will select the shade that most closely matches the colour of the adjacent teeth. Meanwhile, a temporary crown will be prepared to protect the prepared tooth while your permanent crown is being made. Temporary crowns usually are made of acrylic and are held in place using a temporary cement.
  • Once the permanent crown has been returned to the Melbourne Dentist Clinic, your dentist will remove your temporary crown and then check the fit and colour of your permanent crown. If everything is satisfactory, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to numb the area then permanently cement the new crown into place. You then will be asked to bite down on a piece of carbon paper to indicate any high spots. The crown the may be reshaped and polished to fit the tooth precisely.


After the anesthetic wears off, your lips and gums may remain number for a few hours. Try to avoid chewing on our numb lip or cheek to avoid mouth injury.


Typically, dental crowns will last between 5 and 15 years, depending on the amount of wear and tear it receives. To prolong the life of your crown, follow good oral hygiene habits and avoid bad habits such as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing on ice, biting your fingernails and using your teeth to open packages and bottles.


Dental crowns do not require any special care. Keep in mind, however, that because a tooth is crowned does not mean that the underlying tooth is completely protected from decay or gum disease. That’s why it’s important to follow good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth.


To make an appointment with the Melbourne Dental Clinic to discuss dental crowns please call (03) 9999 9703 or book online and we will call you back to confirm your appointment.

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