A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement. Crowns are used for several reasons. These are:
- As a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth
- To improve the longevity of teeth with large fillings
- To correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape or severe discolouration.
- The abutment teeth are prepared by removing a layer of enamel to ensure there will be sufficient room for the crowns.
- Impressions are taken so the bridge can be tailor-made to fit.
- While the bridge is being made, a temporary bridge may be put in place to protect the exposed teeth.
- When ready, the bridge is checked and adjusted to make sure it fits perfectly and it is finally fixed in place with strong dental cement.
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. They can be made from plastic, ceramic or metal alloys. A combination of metal and ceramic is also possible to maximise strength and simulate the appearance of natural teeth.
What does the treatment involve?
Firstly, we carry out a thorough examination and take x-rays to assess if you are suitable for a crown. At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are prepared. This involves reduction of the tooth size (usually under local anaesthesia) followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. The mould taken is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the crown. In the meantime, a temporary crown is made and fitted onto the trimmed tooth.
At the third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth surfaces cleaned. The completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, harmony with the bite, and appearance. Finally, the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth with dental cement.
How long do crowns last?
Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease.
Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture. Avoid chewing excessively-hard substances like ice or bones. Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health as well as keeping the crown trouble-free. The most vulnerable portion of the crown is the margin or the junction between tooth and crown.
A natural-looking dental bridge can successfully fill in unsightly spaces and help restore your confidence. A longer lasting alternative to dentures, dental bridges are an effective way to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of a false tooth, positioned between two crowns, which slot over the teeth either side of a gap (known as abutment teeth) or they can be held in place by dental implants. They are usually made from porcelain fused to a metal or ceramic base, to offer a blend of strength and good looks.
What does treatment involve?
As well as traditional bridges, featuring crowns and a false tooth in between, there are also cantilever bridges, for cases where there are teeth on only one side of the gap, and Maryland bonded bridges, which are attached to existing teeth with metal or ceramic wings.
Bridges are usually made of a precious metal. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength.
Are bridges expensive?
Although a bridge may seem costly they can be a wise investment that will give many years of good service. It will also improve your appearance and bite. A bridge uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, and in this way, it’s similar to ordering a piece of hand-made jewellery.
How do I look after my bridge?
You need to clean your bridge every day to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to maintain your bridge.