What are Crowns and Bridges?
Crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that resemble natural teeth. They are cemented onto the existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist. This is different from removable devices such as dentures, which can be taken out and cleaned daily.
What are Crowns?
Crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that are placed over a tooth and cemented into place. They serve to strengthen damaged teeth by providing structural support, and also help to restore a tooth’s appearance, shape or alignment.
Crowns are often ceramic and can be matched to the color of your teeth, allowing them to resemble natural teeth. They are very strong and often provide a longer life expectancy to the tooth.
Why are Crowns Used?
- To protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that is severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there is minimal tooth remaining
- To cover a tooth that has had a root canal
- To cover a dental implant
- To cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
What are Bridges?
Bridges span the space where teeth are missing in the mouth. They are cemented to the natural teeth or implants, which are called abutments, and these teeth serve as anchors for the bridge. Replacement teeth, called pontics, are then attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. Like crowns, bridges are matched to the color of your natural teeth.
Why are Bridges Used?
Bridges may be recommended when you are missing one or more teeth. In such situations, the gaps left by missing teeth can eventually cause the surrounding teeth to rotate or shift, leading to a bad bite. This imbalance can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
- The tooth is reduced in size so that the crown or bridge can fit over it properly.
- The dentist takes an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge.
- A shade is chosen to match the color of the existing teeth.
- A temporary crown or bridge is used to cover the prepared tooth.
- The impression is sent to a dental lab, and the lab uses the material specified by the dentist.
- Once this permanent crown or bridge is ready (usually in 2 weeks) the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented or bonded to the prepared tooth/teeth.