Crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic dental restorations that help in replacing missing teeth. They also provide strength, durability, and resilience to the existing teeth. Bridges are also capable of aligning teeth and treating the dental occlusion.
What are Crowns?
Dental crowns are custom-made tooth colored caps that enclose the entire tooth that is present above the gumline. When teeth decay and lose most of their structure, crowns are used to restore their shape, size, and also strength. They are bonded to the teeth using a dental adhesive and mimic their natural properties.
You may require a dental crown in the following situations:
- When teeth decay, crack or chip, they become weak. It becomes difficult for the tooth to hold itself together. Crowns protect such weak teeth by encasing them in a porcelain jacket.
- When a tooth has broken or decayed beyond damage, crowns are used to build up the tooth.
- Discolored and stained teeth are covered with porcelain crowns to make them look lustrous. They are vastly used in such cosmetic enhancements.
- After the dental implants are placed in the gums, crowns are attached to them to restore the tooth's full functionality.
- Crowns help in holding the bridges in place.
The Procedure to get Crowns:
Your dentist will use X-rays to check your tooth's health. He will then use an anesthetic to numb your tooth and the surrounding region. To make room for the crown he will file down the enamel. In case of a large cavity, the tooth will be built using some filling material. After the tooth has been built up or reshaped, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth using putty or a digital scan. These impressions are used to custom-fabricate the crown for you. Till the crown is being prepared in the laboratory, usually 3-4 weeks, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown.
On the day of your second appointment, the temporary crown is removed and replaced with a permanent one.
What are the different types of Crowns?
The different types of crowns are:
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are attached to existing teeth to protect them from damage and decay. Dentists use stainless steel crowns as temporary replacements of permanent crowns that take time to get fabricated.
For kids, stainless steel crowns are used to cover the primary teeth to protect them from further decay and cavities. When the primary teeth fall out to make space for the permanent teeth, the crowns come out as well.
Metal crowns are fabricated from alloys of gold and platinum. They provide extreme strength and resilience to the teeth and can endure the chewing and biting forces. Due to their color, they are used to cover the back molars that are not visible.
Porcelain fused to Metal Crowns
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are used to cover both front and back teeth. They look similar to the natural teeth and their metallic nature provides strength to the teeth.
All Resin Crowns
Resin crowns are the most natural looking and maintain the aesthetics of your mouth. They are mostly used to fix the front teeth. Resin crowns are the best suited for people with metal allergies.
What are Bridges?
Gaps left by missing teeth tend to cause rotation, shifting and drifting of the teeth adjacent to them. Bridges are used to cover these gaps or spaces left by missing teeth. They are bonded onto the teeth adjacent to the gap and have a false tooth for the empty space. A bridge consists of a single or multiple crowns for the teeth next to the gap. These teeth present on either side of the gap are called abutment teeth. Bridges help in the following situations:
- Restoring the aesthetics of your mouth and give you an appealing smile.
- Missing teeth affect the way you talk and chew. Bridges improve your speech and chewing ability.
- When you lose a tooth or two, your facial muscles sag and as a result, you start looking old. Bridges cover the gaps left by missing teeth and restore your facial contour.
- Bridges prevent the teeth present next to the gaps from drifting out of position. This preserves the alignment of your bite.
The procedure to get Bridges:
On the day of your first appointment, your dentist will prepare the teeth next to the gap. He will file the enamel and reshape the teeth to create room for crowns. A digital scan will be used to prepare impressions of your mouth. These impressions help in custom-fabricating a bridge to fit your shade, shape, and size. Your dentist will provide you with a temporary bridge for the time being to protect your prepared teeth.
On the second day of your appointment, the custom-made bridge is bonded to your anchoring teeth to fill the gap between them.
What are the different types of Bridges?
The different types of bridges are:
When a gap has a tooth on either side, traditional bridges are used. A crown is attached to each of the neighboring teeth and a false tooth is placed in between to cover the gap. These bridges are made of ceramics or porcelain fused to metal. This is a minimally invasive technique that involves the filing of adjacent teeth.
When only one tooth is present adjacent to the gap, cantilever bridges are used. A crown will be attached to the tooth that is present and false tooth will be attached to it to fill the gap. This is also an invasive technique and requires the filing of enamel.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
Made of porcelain, these bridges are bonded to the back of the teeth present adjacent to the gap. A metal framework supports the false tooth and holds it in place, covering the gap. This is a conservative approach.
For further queries, visit Nickles Dental or book an appointment with us at (864) 244-3211.