What are dental crowns?
Crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures – which you can clean daily – crowns and bridges are cemented onto teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
How do crowns work?
A crown is used to cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. As well as 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.
Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the colour of your teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
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 discoloured or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
How do bridges work?
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, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the space. These teeth (called abutments) act as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth (a pontic) is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the colour of your teeth.
For more information about crowns and bridges, please contact us.