Crowns and Bridges
Chipped or fractured teeth, teeth that are malformed, malpositioned or discoloured: any and all of these conditions can affect your smile.
Crowns, or “caps,” are coverings that fit over your teeth. Their purpose is to restore each tooth to its normal shape and size, while both strengthening and improving its appearance.
The crown fits right over the remaining tooth structure, covering the entire tooth right down to the gum margin, which is the junction where the tooth meets the gum. The crown is constructed to fit tightly around the gum margin, preventing bacteria from entering the tooth, protecting the tooth against further decay or infection. This restores the tooth to full function so it can be used to bite and chew as normal.
Natural-looking porcelain attached to a durable metal shell has been the most common material used to create a crown because of its strength. New cosmetic crowns are made of special ceramics which look far more natural.
Tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, the colour and shade of the tooth, and the function of the tooth are all taken into consideration when choosing which material to use. Other factors include the location of the tooth, and the biting forces exerted on the tooth. We will discuss all the options with you at the time so you can make an informed choice.
A crown can last for 10-15 years and longer if you take good care of them. The major reason for loss is poor oral hygiene, leading to decay eroding the tooth underneath!
What is a Bridge?
A dental bridge can replace one or more missing teeth, and is fixed permanently in position. A bridge replaces a missing tooth by crowning the adjacent healthy teeth. These crowns are attached to the bridge tooth which is called a pontic. The adjacent teeth can be used to support a single pontic, but may be strong enough to support several pontics. The supporting structures of gums and bone also need to be healthy as they will be subject to additional stresses created through chewing and biting on these bridge teeth.
Bridges can be made from the same materials used to construct dental crowns. Bridges should last a similar length of time to dental crowns, but once again this generally relies on good oral care.
What is the procedure to fit a Crown or Bridge?
You will need to make two or possibly three visits to our dental office. Your teeth will need to be prepared so they can be crowned. You’ll be given a local anesthetic before your teeth are ground down to create room for the crowns. The crowns need to be a minimum thickness for strength and esthetics.
The next step is to take impressions of your newly prepared teeth which are then sent to our dental laboratory. These are used to construct your crowns or dental bridge. In the meantime we place temporary crowns on your prepared teeth to protect them while your permanent teeth are being made.
Your crown or bridge can be fitted at your next appointment, and it may require some minor adjustments to ensure it is absolutely perfect. Once we are happy with the fit, and once you’re happy with the appearance, then your restoration will be permanently cemented into position.
It might feel a little strange at first, but soon afterwards it should feel just like your natural teeth.
Crowns can be cleaned in exactly the same way as you would your natural teeth, but you need to take a little bit of extra care to clean around the pontics of any bridges to ensure there isn’t any food trapped in these areas. We will check the condition of any crowns and bridges at every appointment to ensure they’re still fitting correctly and are functioning properly.
After you are fitted with crowns or bridges, you should make sure not to miss your regular dental cleanings, to avoid problems underneath the crowns that can cause oral decay.