If a tooth becomes very damaged or cracked over the years it is important to prevent it from deteriorating any further. If cracked teeth are not protected then bacteria can invade and damage the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, resulting in toothache. If toothache or severe sensitivity occurs, then root canal treatment will be required, before a crown or onlay is placed.
White filling materials are not strong enough to last well in very large cavities, so nowadays very tough materials such as Zirconia and E-Max are used to make restorations which look extremely natural and are long-lasting. Zirconia is an artificial diamond material, and E-Max is a type of toughened porcelain. Older porcelain materials were much weaker and had to be placed on an underneath layer of metal, resulting in a dark line showing at the gum-line. However, today we can avoid this situation and provide crowns and inlays which blend in with your natural teeth much better.
Crowns and onlays are made on a model of your teeth, so they are take longer to make than a simple filling. Crowns and onlays are good value because they help to protect your tooth from further damage. We have older patients whose crowns have lasted over forty years with no problems, thus providing excellent value over many decades.
A crown involves trimming a thin layer off the outside of the tooth, and then placing a “cap” or crown to totally encase the tooth in a layer of Zirconia. Your tooth is first numbed with local anaesthetic to make sure the whole procedure is completely painless, and then the tooth is reshaped to make sure that the new crown will fit correctly. Impressions are taken on which the new tooth is constructed, and a temporary crown is placed until the permanent one is ready.
Onlays and Inlays
In the 21st Century crowns have become a little out-dated, although there are still situations in which they are the best choice. However, onlays are now the best, and most up-to-date, method of repairing broken and badly- damaged chewing teeth
Due to the advent of the latest materials and bonding techniques it is possible to repair teeth much more conservatively than in the past. The results look great, do much less damage to your teeth, and will hopefully last even longer than the crowns of the past. Onlays are made by a very similar method to crowns, but much less of your real tooth is removed, meaning that your tooth remains much stronger.