What are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped ‘cap’ that’s placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and to improve its appearance. Crowns are used in various situations. You might need to protect a weak tooth from breaking, or to hold together parts of a tooth that’s already been damaged, or has cracked completely. Your dentist may recommend a crown if you need to cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left. A crown could simply be a cosmetic option, to improve your smile.
Crowns can be made from various materials, including ceramics, porcelain, resin or metal alloys - and each offers different benefits in terms of aesthetic and durability.
What are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges are so-named because they span the space where teeth are missing - creating a ‘bridge’ that’s cemented to the natural teeth or implants that surround the empty space.
These teeth - referred to as ‘abutments’, serve as anchors for your bridge. A replacement tooth, called a ‘pontic’, is then attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. Like crowns, bridges can be made from various materials.
How can my local dentist help with bridges and crowns?
The process of getting a crown or bridge typically requires two or more visits to your local dentist. The first visit involves examining and preparing the tooth (or teeth!) involved. For a crown, this might involve your dentistry team filing down to the tooth to make room for the crown, or if the tooth is severely damaged or broken, your dentist may give you a filling, to make the tooth large enough to properly receive the crown.
For a bridge, the abutment teeth will be prepared, by removing a portion of enamel (this is called ‘recontouring’) to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. After this, your local dentist will make an impression of your teeth, which will serve as a model, from which the crown or bridge can be made by a dental lab. Your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown or bridge to wear, which will protect the exposed teeth while your permanent crown or bridge is being made.
Your second visit will probably be booked for a few weeks following the first, once the permanent crown or bridge is ready. During this visit, your temporary crown or bridge will be removed, and the new one will be checked and adjusted to achieve the best fit for your mouth. Once you and your dentist are satisfied with the look and fit, your crown and bridge will be cemented into place.
How can I take care of my new crown and bridge?
After the procedure has been successfully completed, you should focus on maintaining good dental hygiene. A crown and bridge can last a lifetime - but you need to take care of it, and even in the best circumstances they can come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure your new crown and bridge will last is to brush and floss daily, and to visit your hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
Also, if you can - try to avoid chewing very sticky or hard foods, including ice - especially if you have a crown or bridge made from porcelain, as this may cause damage.
Crowns and bridges are effective solutions for restoring and enhancing your dental health and smile. By understanding what these treatments entail and how to care for them, you can ensure the longevity of your dental work and maintain a healthy, confident smile. Always consult with your dental professional to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs.
Not what you’re looking for? Take a look through our archives to find the dental procedure you’ve been offered, and to learn more about what to expect when you’re in the waiting room.