What are Crowns and Bridges?
When teeth are heavily decayed or weakened they may be too weak to survive with a restoration. By placing a crown, a tooth may be given a new lease of life. A Crown is a strong replacement of the tooth’s natural form. Each of your teeth is covered in hard, strong enamel, but this can be chipped, broken or weakened due to trauma, tooth decay, large restorations, regular wear and tear, or root canal treatment. Often the best way to save a tooth and strengthen it is to fit a crown. There are many different types of crowns which can be made. Some crowns such as gold crowns need two appointments so the tooth can be prepared and then in the second fitted with the crown. Here at Coral Coast Dental our ceramic crowns can be made on site and fitted in the same appointment.
Our dentist may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large restoration when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- As a part of a bridge
- Attach to a dental implant
- Cover a discoloured or poorly shaped tooth
- Protect a tooth that has had root canal treatment
When a tooth is lost, a replacement option could be a bridge. This is made to spans the gap with a false tooth attached to those next to the space.
A Bridge can replace one or more missing teeth. If a tooth is lost through an accident, root fractured or is too badly decayed to save, a bridge may be a good option. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty space. A bridge consists of an artificial tooth anchored to the adjacent natural teeth either by ways of a crown or ‘wings’ that are cemented to the back of the adjacent teeth. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants, filling the empty space. Like crowns there are many different types of bridges which can be made, but bridges always require two appointments so the tooth/teeth can be prepared and then in the second appointment the bridge is fitted.
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
Steps in Preparation of a Bridge
An impression is taken of the original tooth and the opposing teeth on the opposite jaw. Local anaesthetic is used to make the procedure more comfortable. The tooth or teeth are prepared which usually involves removing any old restorations, or decay and shaping the tooth to allow the bridge to fit over it. Another impression is then taken to send to a dental technician.
A temporary bridge is then constructed and placed on the prepare tooth/teeth until the bridge is ready. At the second appointment local anaesthetic may be used again. The temporary bridge is removed, the prepared teeth are cleaned and the bridge is checked to make sure it fits well and looks good. Some adjustments may need to be made out of the mouth. If there are problems the bridge may be sent back to the technician. Using dental cement or bonding agents the bridge is placed, and is usually set when you leave the practice but may take 24 hours to reach its full strength. Your occlusion (bite) is checked, getting you to close together; the bridge should feel comfortable and natural in your mouth. Minor adjustments maybe needed to achieve comfort.