Essentially, a dental crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, like a ‘cap’, which is shaped like a natural tooth and coloured to match the surrounding teeth.
Dental Crowns are an ideal way to restore teeth that have been functionally compromised by decay or a very large filling, which is likely to breakdown or fracture despite our best efforts with a filling material. The advantage of a crown is that the entire tooth is protected and stabilised, as well as adding strength to root canal treated teeth.
Crowns are made out of porcelain, metal or both. The most popular and aesthetic is porcelain with a metal-free ceramic substructure. Porcelain fused to metal crowns is durable but not as aesthetically pleasing due to the lack of light transmission through the porcelain, and black metal margin exposure over time.
In root-filled teeth, it may be necessary to insert a post into the tooth root before placing a crown. A post gives support and helps the crown to stay in place. The surface of the tooth may be removed down to the level of the gum.
A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal. Or a custom-made post can be constructed by a dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.
The longevity of a crown depends on how well it is looked after. The crown itself cannot decay, however, decay can start at the junction of the crown and the tooth. Oral hygiene is very important and a crown should be cleaned just like all-natural teeth. Properly cared for crowns will last for 10-20 years.
Bridges are effectively crowns or partial crowns with an artificial tooth attached. All teeth associated with the bridge are fused as a unit. Longer span bridges (4 or more teeth) have shorter longevity due to the risk of fracture. As with crowns, form, function and aesthetics are restored
Not everyone is suitable, we will need to carefully assess your case to ensure we offer you the best method for replacing your missing teeth. A bridge is only suitable if you have enough strong teeth with good bone to support it.
Crowns and bridges can be made from a variety of materials including resin, ceramic or metal alloy. It is also possible to have ceramic bonded onto a metal alloy, which provides the best combination of strength and appearance.
Preparation of the teeth is required to create space for the crown or bridge to be fitted which involves reduction of the tooth size (usually under local anaesthesia) followed by an impression. This is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the crown. It usually takes two weeks to fabricate a crown or bridge during which a provisional crown or bridge is fitted.
You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the crowned 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.
Very rarely ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture and usually, this can be repaired. Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems and recommend necessary treatment.Back to General Dentistry
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