Crown and bridges
A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth existing tooth and making it stronger. 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
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
What is a crown made of?
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are being introduced all the time.
Some of the most popular options:
Porcelain bonded to precious or non-precious metal: A precious or non-precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.
Porcelain crowns: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns, but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
All-ceramic crowns: this modern material is metal free. It can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. This makes it suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.
Gold alloy crowns: gold is used with other metals to increase its strength, which makes it a very hard-wearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.
Usually your crown will be made from either porcelain bonded to precious metal or ceramic.
We will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. An impression will then be taken so that a technician can make your crown. It will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive to form a seal and hold the crown on place. A well looked after crown should last for many years.
How is a crown prepared?
The dentist will prepare the tooth so it is the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown. You will need to have at least two visits. The first is to have the tooth prepared, the impressions taken, the shade matched and the temporary crown fitted. The second is to fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 1 to 2 weeks in between appointments.
On the fit stage of treatment when you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown it will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place.
How long your crown lasts depends on how well you look after it. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. Therefore, to prevent decay affecting the crown, it is important to keep this area just as clean as you would your natural teeth.
Properly cared for crowns should last for many years. Your dentist will be able to tell you how long you may expect the crown to last.
To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.
But these days there is no need to suffer from embarrassing gaps in your teeth, or to put up with the inconvenience of dentures.
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
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.
A dental bridge may well be the answer to your problems, providing a realistic-looking replacement which is permanently fixed in your mouth and you brush to clean just like your other teeth.
Most often, the two neighboring teeth – one on each side – will need to have crowns fixed onto them. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the 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 bridge. A temporary bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent bridge is being made. When the permanent bridge is ready, the temporary bridge is removed, and the new bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.