Information – Porcelain Crowns

A Porcelain Crown is a dental restoration that covers up or caps a tooth. It is cemented into place and cannot be removed.

Porcelain Crown Diagram

Crowns restore a tooth to its natural size, shape and—if using porcelain—colour. They improve the strength, function and appearance of a broken down tooth that may otherwise be lost. They may also be designed to decrease the risk of root decay.

The likely outcome of this procedure is the restoration of a near-healthy tooth in appearance, form and structure, which will require future maintenance including replacement of the crown as it ages.

The Procedure

The Crown procedure following diagnosis and acceptance to proceed involves: local anaesthetic numbing, drilling and cleaning, scans or impressions, making and placement of a temporary crown.  Two weeks later the second appointment involves: local anaesthetic numbing, removing the temporary crown, particle abrasion, etching, bonding, placing the new crown, light curing the cement and finally cleaning the cement margins and adjustment of the bite and polishing for smoothness.

Following the procedure, the limitations are Porcelain on a crown may have a good color match with the adjacent natural teeth as the crown is placed, but less of a match as your natural teeth age. Gum recession may lead to unsightly dark roots or crown margins becoming visible.  A crown may chip or break if used for abnormal activities (e.g., biting fishing line, sewing thread or finger nails, opening bottles)

After the procedure, Check-ups are important to ensure the tooth health is monitored and that continued treatment is provided if necessary.

The Cost

We will give you an outline of the estimated cost of your Porcelain Crown and this cost includes a component of our laboratory to construct the crown (Note we construct all crowns onsite and do not outsource crowns).  At the time of your First Stage of the Crown Appointment we may need to alter the size and extent of the drilling to account for damage, and until such time the estimate of the cost is an estimate only.

Following your crown there may be further costs dependent on the outcome such as future replacement of the crown, cost of further treatment including review, a root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth. Whilst root canal treatment or extraction of a tooth subsequent to having a crown is unlikely (occurring approximately 5% of cases) this does involve significant costs to the patient.

Root Canal Treatment cost $1,000 to $3,000
Extraction cost $300 to $600
Dental Implant, Abutment and Crown cost $ approximately $5,600

Alternative Treatments

Alternatives to crowns are fillings, often made of composite resin or silver amalgam. These restorations remove decay and may restore teeth to their original form, but are limited because they do not improve the strength of the damaged tooth. They also do not decrease the risk of root decay or improve the long-term function of the bite.  They also do not improve aesthetics.

Abnormal Outcomes and Risks

In having a crown, some inherent risks exist both to the tooth and to the crown itself.

The risks to the tooth are:
• Preparation for a crown weakens tooth structure and permanently alters the tooth underneath the crown
• Preparing for and placing a crown can irritate the tooth and cause “postoperative” sensitivity, which may last up to 3 months or longer and then need a Root Canal Treatment (Root Canal Treatment Cost $1,000 to $3,000)
• The tooth underneath the crown may need a root canal treatment about 5% of the time during the lifetime of the tooth (Root Canal Treatment Cost $1,000 to $3,000)
• If the cement seal at the edge of the crown is lost, decay may form at the juncture of the crown and tooth, this can be difficult to repair and replacement of the Crown is often required (New Crown $2,000)

As these costs are not a failure of the treatment, they are an additional cost to the patient.

The risks to the crown are:
• Porcelain may chip and metal may wear over time. Often this can be polished, but on occasions you will require a new Crown at your expense (New Crown $2,000)
• If the tooth needs a root canal treatment after the crown is permanently cemented, the procedure may fracture the crown and the crown may need to be replaced (New Crown $2,000).
• The crown falls off the tooth due to minimal remaining tooth structure to bond too.  Often the ultimate result is requiring a new crown with improved design or possibly the removal of the tooth and replacement with treatment such as a Dental implant (Removal of a tooth and Dental Implant and Abutment and Crown cost approximately $6,000)

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