Crowns and bridges provide a permanent fix to dental issues. Unlike removable fixes, such as dentures, you can’t take crowns and bridges out of your mouth to clean as they are cemented onto existing teeth or implants. If you need to have a crown or bridge removed then this has to be done by a dentist.
A crown is normally used to cap or cover a tooth that has been damaged. Its function is to strengthen the damaged tooth and also to correct the way it looks, its alignment or its shape. It’s also a useful tool to top off an implant as it can make the implant look and feel like a tooth. There are a number of materials that are used for crowns – the more natural looking crowns are made of ceramic or porcelain but you can also choose to have gold and metal alloys or acrylic. The choice of materials may depend on where the tooth in question is located – for teeth at the back of your mouth it will be necessary to choose the strongest possible combination, such as metal alloys. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is also a popular choice as it is both aesthetically pleasing and strong.
There are a number of reasons why your dentist might suggest considering a crown. These include:
Protection – when a tooth is weak and could fracture a crown can help protect it. It’s also possible to use a crown to restore a fractured tooth.
Structure – where teeth have become worn away and a large filling needs replacing, the crown is the ideal option. Crowns can also provide the structure to attach a bridge to.
Bridges are the perfect solution for missing teeth and avoiding issues that can be caused by gaps in teeth that may result in a bad bite. Gaps in teeth that cause the rest of your teeth to move or shift can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders so filling the space with a bridge can avoid a lot of dental issues. Bridges are attached to the teeth or implants around the gap, which is filled with the replacement tooth that is part of the bridge. As with crowns there are different choices of materials for bridges, depending on where the gap is and how hardwearing the bridge needs to be.
Most crowns and bridges are made using an impression taken by your dentist. Normally, while the permanent crown or bridge is being produced you will be provided with a temporary substitute. Crowns and bridges can often last a lifetime – especially if you look after your teeth and mouth. Keep your gums and teeth healthy and have regular check ups to ensure longevity.