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Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges are called fixed prosthetic devices because unlike dentures, which are removable, they are cemented or fixed in place. Usually, they are cemented onto existing teeth or implants and cannot be removed to be cleaned like dentures can, however, they are a much more natural feeling restoration and can last for years if properly treatment planned for.
A crown covers over or “caps” a damaged tooth. As well as providing additional strength and resistance to fracture, crowns can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance, position and alignment. .Crowns which are placed on top of implants provide a permanent solution to missing teeth, as they can be made to blend in unnoticeably to the existing teeth. Crowns can be made from porcelain/ceramic, zirconia, metal alloys, acrylic and composite resins. Each material has distinct advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, longevity and appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Crowns are generally recommended in the following circumstances.
- to replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining and prevent from fracture
- restore and protect a weak tooth to prevent it from fracturing, especially after a root canal has been done.
- restore an implant
- and to cover mis-shaped teeth for aesthetic reasons
Bridges are teeth which are bonded to one or two teeth on either side of a gap. Due to the popularity of implants in modern dentistry, bridges are becoming less and less appealing, however, it may be preferable in cases where teeth on either side of a missing gap are heavily restored with past fillings.
They are also ideal for people who are averse to surgery and also in cases were it is not possible to place implants, such as when the teeth on either side tilt or rotate into the space.
Before crowns or bridges are made, the tooth (or teeth) is reduced in size so that the crown can fit over it. An impression is then taken of this tooth and sent off to a dental laboratory where a crown is made. The correct shade is then taken of the tooth to colour match it with its surroundings. The finished piece is then sent back to the dentist to be inserted and cemented onto the existing teeth and replaces the damaged areas.
In some circumstances, a tooth that has recently been extracted can be bonded back onto the adjacent teeth to create an immediate bridge. This type of bridge may not be possible in all circumstances, however, does provide a very cost-effective solution to replacing a missing tooth.
Sometimes, they can last a lifetime, however, they occasionally come loose or fall out. Because the teeth cannot be removed to be cleaned, special attention needs to be given to them during brushing as sometimes, food and bacteria can accumulate underneath, causing secondary decay. However, provided they are able to be cleaned, they are able to provide a very good option for the restoration of teeth in specific circumstances. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily is recommended and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist is important to detect early problems.