What is a crown?
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:
- as a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth
- as a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings
- to correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape or severe discolouration.
What are crowns made from?
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.
How are crowns made?
- Firstly, a thorough clinical examination is conducted with radiographs, by the dentist. The suitability for crowns is assessed and any preparatory work is carried out. Your dentist will advise on material choices, treatment sequence and any other concerns you may have.
- At the second appointment, the teeth to be crowned are prepared. This involves reduction of the tooth size under local anaesthesia followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. This trimming of the tooth is required to create space for the crown to be fitted. 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 and how do I care for them?
Crowns and bridges are very durable lasting many years when done to a high standard. However, like your teeth, they may eventually wear or fracture with time. The underlying tooth structure is still prone to decay and gum disease if you have a poor diet or poor hygiene. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease. Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture.
- 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.
- Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend necessary treatment.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a fixed solution to replace a missing tooth. Bridgework is a wonderful alternative to wearing dentures. Replacement porcelain teeth are fixed in your mouth and will not drop or move in function. There is no uncomfortable coverage of your palate as with dentures so they feel and look like natural teeth. The bridge is attached to your teeth. This may be via an invisible metal wing glued to the rear surface of the tooth (Maryland bridge), or by covering it completely in a similar fashion to a crown (bonded bridge).
Are bridges expensive?
Although a bridge may seem expensive it will last many years. 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. The materials are also expensive so it’s fair to say a bridge will not be the cheapest treatment you have ever had.
How do I look after my bridge?
- You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as decay and gum disease.
- You also have to clean under the false tooth every day.
- Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.