What Are Dental Crowns And Tooth Bridges?
A dental crown is used to cover a damaged tooth. It does not only strengthen, but it also aims to align and improve the shape of the tooth. You can choose your desired color and the material to be used for the “capping.” You can also place a crown on top of your implant in order to provide structure and tooth-like shape for function. As for the material preferences, dental experts advise the use of alloy as it is stronger compared to other materials. For the back teeth, porcelain is becoming more recommended, unless the patient is a heavy bruxer (grinder). The bonding of porcelain to a metal shell is a good option as well. It is stronger than porcelain alone and is attractive.
Your dentist will only recommend a crown if:
- A large filling needs to be placed and there is not enough natural tooth structure remaining to hold the filling in place
- A tooth has gotten weak from a fracture and needs protection
- A tooth needs restoration after getting fractured
- A missing tooth is present and tooth needs a crown to serve as a bridge attachment
- A dental implant needs covering
- A poorly shaped tooth needs covering
- A tooth that had undergone root canal treatment requires covering
What is a tooth bridge and how does it work?
A bridge might be recommended when you’re missing one or more teeth. It’s necessary to bridge a missing tooth because missing teeth can lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The gap that is left by the missing tooth will cause the remaining teeth to shift or rotate into the remaining space, resulting in a bad bite.
Bridges aim to fill the empty space caused by missing teeth by cementing a prosthetic tooth to existing teeth. The teeth that serve as the anchors for the bridge are called abutments. A replacement tooth (or teeth) attached to the abutments is called a pontic. Just like with crowns, you have various choices of materials for the bridge, which your dentist will help you choose. The best choice depends on the location of the tooth, its function, aesthetic consideration, as well as the cost. One tip: ceramic or porcelain bridges can match the color of your natural teeth, but they are often not as strong.
How are crowns and bridges made?
The first step is to reduce the size of the anchor tooth so that the crown and bridge will fit over it properly. Then, the crowns and bridges will be made. The dentist will determine the exact shape, shade, and material of the crown and bridge.
Your crown or bridge is usually made in a dental lab. In the mean time, a temporary crown will be placed to cover the prepared tooth while the crown or bridge is being made. Once done, the temporary crown will be removed and the crown or bridge will be cemented over your prepared tooth.
How long do they last?
Crowns and bridges can last a lifetime. However, sometimes cement fails and they need to be recemented. Or a facial trauma may result in a loose tooth or crown. If proper oral hygiene is not provided, bridges can get loose from the anchors. Keep your gums healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice per day and flossing. Avoid chewing hard foods or ice. Also, don’t neglect your regular dental check up.