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Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges

What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?



Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
How do Crowns Work?
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
  • Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
How do Bridges Work?

A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.
Using this impression, a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge, in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.
How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.
Crowns
Porcelain Gold
Full porcelain fused to metal. Full cast gold crown.
Bridges
Space Bridge Cemented
Teeth around the space are prepared. The bridge is mounted and adjusted for fit and comfort. The bridge is cemented into position.

Dental Implants

Picture of a dental implantDental implants are one way of replacing missing teeth. The way they are mounted onto posts and inserted into the jaw during surgery means that they look and feel just like ordinary teeth.

Although there are many advantages to having implants, they are not suitable for everyone. You need to have healthy gums and be in good general health. You also need enough jawbone to take the posts and support the replacement teeth. Some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis or chronic sinus problems could interfere with healing and make implants more likely to fail.

If you choose to have implants, you will undergo surgery twice or more over a period of several months. Because they are a complicated form of treatment, implants can also be expensive.

Your dentist will go through each stage of the treatment with you before it begins and also give you a timetable for completing treatment. You might be referred to a specialist.

The dentist will expose the bone in the jaw where the tooth is missing. Then he will drill a hole and insert a metal post into the bone. This is usually done under a local anaesthetic, but sometimes sedation or, if you are in hospital, a general anaesthetic is used. The gum is then stitched over the post and it’s left to heal for several months, while the bone grows around the post, making it secure.

After this period, there will be second operation then happens, in which replacement teeth are mounted onto the metal post. This requires a small cut in the gum above the implant. The replacement teeth might be single or in a group, and possibly as a ‘bridge’, attached to neighbouring natural teeth. They may be fixed permanently or attached in a way that lets you remove them for cleaning.

After surgery, it’s absolutely essential to maintain good mouth hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain dental veneers are a beautiful way to correct stained, chipped, or crooked teeth. By placing glass-like ceramic porcelain on the surface of teeth, dentists can provide patients with bright, straight, and natural looking smiles. Dental flaws that have been a source of embarrassment for years can be treated with porcelain veneers in as little as one or two appointments

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