Who needs a dental crown?

Written by: Dr Jay Padayachy
Edited by: Cal Murphy

Crowns are a fairly common dental treatment, but who needs one? Is fitting a crown painful? And how much do they cost? Experienced dentist Dr Jay Padayachy has the answers.

Why would someone need a dental crown?

To restore the form, function and appearance of a badly broken down, worn or fractured tooth. This can then maintain the structural stability of the tooth and reduce the chances of further fracture; this is especially true of teeth which have been root filled. They can be used in cosmetic dentistry to improve the aesthetics of unsightly teeth when less invasive or simpler techniques will not work.


Is it painful to have a crown put on your tooth?

No!! Local anaesthetic is used to numb the tooth prior to doing the preparation required. A temporary crown is then placed to protect the prepared tooth and prevent any sensitivity whilst the new crown is being constructed.


How long does it take to put a permanent crown on?

It is important to diagnose that a crown is the appropriate treatment. A plan is then produced with the cost. Once you are happy with and consent to the proposed plan, the preparation and any additional associated work of the tooth can be carried out (on average a 1-hour appointment).

An impression is taken, and a temporary crown fitted whilst the definitive crown is made. This often takes in the region of two weeks, depending on the type of crown required. This time can sometimes be reduced with prior agreement with the lab to prioritise your work. At the fitting appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the final crown is checked to see that it fits well, looks good and functions well. If there are no problems, then the crown is cemented with a special dental cement appropriate for that crown material. This appointment lasts up to 45 minutes.


How long is a crown supposed to last?

Maybe the question should be how long the crown will last in my mouth as a crown can last thousands of years if it is left alone!

Crowns can fail due to fracture, decay, and gum recession. The chances of fracture can be reduced by using your crowns (and teeth) just for eating and chewing and not biting chocolate straight out of the fridge. Avoiding toffees and not opening bottles with your teeth also helps!

The chances of decay can be reduced by avoiding sugary foods and fizzy drinks and with effective brushing and interdental cleaning. Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist with x-rays at appropriate intervals can ensure that your mouth is in the best condition possible to minimise the chances of any of these happening.


How much do dental crowns cost?

The price will vary depending on the type of crown and the quality of the laboratory used. If it is at the front of the mouth and is thus a cosmetic concern, you can expect to pay considerably more, as you may need:

  • To visit the lab technician for a shade-taking visit
  • A further visit prior to fitting to give it a custom finish, so that it matches harmoniously with your adjacent teeth.

Making a single crown at the front of the mouth is one of the hardest things to do in dentistry. Fees can vary from £800 to £1500+.


Are there any alternatives to getting a crown?

If there is a large amount of tooth to restore, then there really isn’t any option other than a crown if you want to keep the tooth. If there is only a small amount of damaged tooth, an inlay, filling or veneer may be a more appropriate treatment option. Doing nothing is always an option, but if nothing is done, it may result in further damage to the tooth, necessitating its removal and the extra associated work, and costs to replace it if you want something to fill the gap created.


How do I look after my new crown?

In exactly the same way as your natural teeth, i.e. cleaning twice a day for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and electric toothbrush, and cleaning between it and the adjacent teeth with floss or TePe brushes to keep those difficult-to-clean areas clean as well.


Visit Dr Padayachy’s Top Doctors profile to book an appointment.

By Dr Jay Padayachy

Dr Jay Padayachy is a highly experienced dentist, who has been working at the award-winning Senova Dental Studios since 1998. He focuses on comprehensive restorative and cosmetic dentistry

He graduated from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1989 and worked in High Wycombe for 10 years, before joining Senova Dental Studios. He was elected a fellow of the International College of Dentists in June 2013 (one of only 85 in the UK) in recognition of his outstanding services rendered in the art and science of dentistry. He has also been honoured with a gold medal at one of the world's most prestigious dental competitions at the 12th Annual American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Conference. His award was won for his indirect restoration work, including his work on crowns, veneers and inlays. 

He has been the president of The London Dental Fellowship and has been past a member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and has served on the credentialing committee.

Dr Padayachy has lectured widely on all aspects of cosmetic dentistry, dental photography and comprehensive care and has undergone much dental research. Some of his publications can be found on ResearchGate. He thoroughly enjoys seeing the changes he makes to the lives of his patients, giving them more confidence and a smile that they can enjoy. 

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