Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices, such as dentures, which can be removed and cleaned daily, crowns and bridges are cemented into position and can only be removed by a dentist.
A crown completely covers or “caps” a damaged tooth. This can help in strengthening a damaged tooth, as well as improve its appearance, shape or alignment. Crowns can also be placed on implants (see “Dental Implants”).
Porcelain or ceramic crowns are matched to the colour of your own teeth. Other materials that can be used for crowns include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. A third alternative is to opt for porcelain bonded to metal. This is often used, because it is both strong and aesthetically pleasing.
There are several reasons why your dentist could recommend a crown. Some of the possible reasons are:
- to insert a filling when there isn’t enough of the tooth structure left
- to strengthen a weak tooth to prevent it from fracturing
- to restore a fractured tooth
- to attach a bridge
- to cover a dental implant
- to cover a discoloured or poorly shaped tooth
- to cover a tooth that has had a root canal treatment
A bridge may be recommended if you are missing a few teeth. The bridge fills the space where the teeth are missing and is cemented to the natural teeth next to the empty space. These teeth serve as the anchors for the bridge.
Bridges can last a couple of years to a lifetime, provided the underlying tooth structure remains sound. However, they do sometimes come loose and need re-cementing. To ensure the longevity of your bridge, good oral hygiene and daily flossing are imperative.