A dental crown is a restoration that completely covers or caps your tooth, restoring it to its natural size, shape and colour and strengthening the structure of an existing tooth.
Dental crowns are entirely custom made according to your needs – which means only you will be able to wear a crown that is fitted for you.
When would I need a dental crown?
There are generally two types of clinical situations where you will require a dental crown:
- On your existing tooth to:
- Cap large cavities (decay) that cannot be repaired with dental fillings
- Strengthen the tooth if it is weak, worn down or cracked
- Restore the tooth after root canal treatment
- Improve the appearance of your smile by replacing discoloured or badly shaped tooth
- On a dental implant to:
- Complete restoration of a missing teeth
If you find that you are experiencing any of the dental conditions above, you most probably would need a dental crown. Visit a dental specialist / dentist so that he or she can carry out a detailed examination for you and provide you with a customised treatment plan.
What are the different types of dental crowns available?
There are two types of dental crowns – temporary and permanent.
A temporary crown ensures that you do not have to leave the clinic with a toothless smile. It is an interim solution while your permanent crown is being fabricated in a dental laboratory. A temporary crown is handmade by your dental specialist / dentist in the clinic using resin, acrylic-based or stainless steel materials.
A permanent crown can be made of different materials and can be categorised into the following:
1. Tooth coloured dental crowns
Resin crowns are made using a combination of plastic type materials that are matched to the colour of natural teeth. It is similar to the material used for dental fillings. As they are not as durable, it is not common for clinics in Singapore to make resin crowns for patients as permanent crowns.
Pros: Generally less expensive
Cons: More prone to wear and tear as compared to all other types of crowns
- Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
A PFM crown is fabricated in such a way that the porcelain crown is further strengthened by a metal base. This solution is only suitable for patients without any metal allergy.
Pros: More durable and natural-looking as compared to resin crown
Cons: Generally costs more than a resin crown and a dark metal “line” may appear over time
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain
An all-ceramic or all-porcelain crown is mainly used for front teeth restorations where the bite force is not as strong.
Pros: Gives a translucent and natural look
Cons: Not as strong as metal crowns
Zirconium is a man-made material that is similar to the zirconium used for man-made diamonds. Due to its durability, it can be used for back teeth restorations. It is comparatively a newer type of crown that is becoming increasingly popular
Pros: Very strong and able to withstand strong biting forces; biocompatible (ability to provide function without causing any harm to the body) and natural-looking
Cons: Generally more expensive than other tooth coloured dental crowns
2. Non-tooth coloured dental crowns
Metal crowns include alloys with a high gold content or common metal alloys such as chromium and nickel. They are able to withstand high biting forces and rarely chip or break. Due to its appearance (colour), they are generally used to cover molar teeth near the back of the mouth. This solution is only suitable for patients without any metal allergy.
Pros: Very durable
Cons: Less natural-looking; Gold dental crowns are generally more expensive
At Specialist Dental Group, we observe that Zirconia crowns and all-porcelain crowns are the most popular among patients. Nonetheless, different dental conditions require different types of dental crowns, you are recommended to visit your dental specialist / dentist so that they can advise on the type that is most suitable for you.
Where can I get my dental crowns?
In Singapore, it is possible to get your dental crown via general dentists (GP dentists) or dental specialists.
Dental crowns fall under the specialty of Prosthodontics (replacement of teeth using dental crowns/bridges or dentures). Dental specialists that are specifically trained for these types of treatment are called Prosthodontists.
In addition to receiving additional three to four years of specialised training, a recognised Prosthodontist in Singapore needs to build up clinical cases (and experience) and sit for the Prosthodontic Specialist Exit Exam.
How long does it take for my dental crown to be ready?
The entire process generally takes two weeks and requires two dental visits.
At Specialist Dental Group, it is possible for your dental crown to be ready in an even shorter period of time. Discuss with your dental specialist on your preferred time frame so that arrangements can be made for that.
First visit (approximately one hour)
After you have decided to proceed with a dental crown, the following will be done:
1) Preparation of tooth: Local anaesthesia will be given so that your tooth and its surrounding gums is numb. Your natural tooth is then trimmed to allow sufficient space for the dental crown.
2) Dental impression: Taken either with a handheld scanner or impression tray, an impression of your teeth and soft tissues in your mouth is then sent to the dental laboratory for the fabrication of your permanent (definitive) crown.
3) Shade-taking: Together with you and the help of a shade guide, your dental specialist / dentist will select an appropriate colour for your new crown.
4) Temporary crown: When necessary, a temporary crown is made on the same day to protect your existing tooth and to ensure you leave the clinic with a complete smile.
Second visit (approximately 30 minutes)
This is when your definitive crown is issued and cemented. Your dental specialist / dentist will check the fit and appearance of the crown. When both of you are satisfied with the new dental crown, it will be cemented in place.
What is the financial commitment like?
Depending on the material chosen for the dental crown, laboratory fees, clinician chosen and clinical time spent, the fees for a dental crown treatment in Singapore can range from $1,000 to $3,000.
Can Medisave be used?
Medisave can only be used for surgical procedures, hence it is not applicable for dental crown treatment.
How should I care for my dental crown?
If a well-made dental crown is cared for appropriately, it can last approximately 10 years or more. The best way to prolong the longevity of your dental crown is a combination of regular dental visits to your dental specialist / dentist and maintain a good oral care routine.
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day with fluoridated toothpaste, for two minutes each time. Do remember to brush along the gum line to remove any accumulated plaque.
- Floss daily to remove food remnants trapped in between our teeth and dental crown. If you are unsure how to floss effectively with your dental crown, do ask your dental specialist / dentist so that he/she can guide you.
- Watch your sugar intake as the tooth underneath the crown can still be prone to cavities and gum disease.
- Refrain from biting on hard foods (such as ice, seafood shells, nuts) where your dental crowns are placed to prevent it from breaking or chipping.
- Visit your dentist two times a year for professional cleaning to remove any hardened plaque (tartar) and detailed examination to ensure that there are no problems around your crown.
Specialist Dental Group’s Team of Prosthodontists
We have a team of Prosthodontists that are qualified in the areas of:
- cosmetic dentistry
- dental crowns/bridges
- teeth restorations
- dental implants
- missing teeth replacement
- rehabilitation of head and neck cancer patients
They possess the expert knowledge and experience to treat patients with more complex dental problems. If you think you may need dental treatment, find out more about our team of Prosthodontists here.