Crowns and Bridges
Both crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic oral devices and unlike removable dentures, they are cemented onto existing teeth (or implants) and can only be removed by a dentist or prosthodontist.
What is a crown?
A dental crown is used to cover a damaged, decayed or undesirable tooth. Crowns then ultimately strengthen a damaged or troublesome tooth but can also be used to enhance aesthetics or improve the tooth’s alignment or shape. A crown can also be placed on top of other oral devices or implants as they function and mimic the shape and look of a natural tooth. Crowns are most commonly made from porcelain or ceramic, which can be matched to the colour of the surrounding natural teeth. Crowns can also be made from metal alloys and acrylic, which are generally stronger but more noticeable.
When are crowns used?
Your dentist will most commonly recommend a crown if:
- You have a weak tooth.
- Your tooth is fractured, or at risk of fracturing.
- A large filling of yours needs replacing.
- You wish to mask a discoloured or misshaped tooth.
- You need an oral device to attach a bridge.
- You need to cover a root canal treated tooth.
- You need to cover another dental implant.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is much like a crown, however, is usually used when patients are missing more than one tooth. A bridge will occupy the empty space, which natural teeth once existed. A bridge is made of two crowns that are joined with one or more false teeth in the middle and cemented onto the natural teeth or dental implants. Bridges are often made of ceramic or porcelain materials that are used to mimic your natural teeth. There are other materials available however, that may align more with your financial or functionality considerations.
How are crowns and bridges attached?
Before a crown or bridge is attached and if there are any natural teeth that can be utilised, your tooth will be reduced and resized so the crown or bridge can fit properly over it. Then your dentist will take an impression of the newly sized tooth/teeth or the empty space for the crown or bridge to occupy. A dental lab will then use this impression to make the crown or bridge, in the material you and your dentist have agreed upon. While the impression is being made, a temporary crown or bridge will be fitted. Once the crown or bridge is ready, your temporary device will be carefully removed and your dentist will secure the bridge or crown over the prepared tooth/teeth, to existing teeth, or to oral fixtures/implants.
How long will my crown or bridge last?
Ordinarily, crowns and bridges will last a lifetime. However, the oral implants can still fall out. To ensure your bridges and crowns last, it is essential you maintain good oral hygiene, as crowns and bridges can loosen off the teeth or bone holding the devices are damaged by dental disease. Therefore it is essential that you brush twice daily, floss once daily and maintain regular check-ups with your dentist.