Crowns and most bridges are fixed devices which are cemented onto existing teeth or (cemented or screwed onto) implants, unlike dentures and partials which can be removed by the patient.
How do Crowns work and what are they used for?
A crown is used to entirely cover a tooth, whether it be to strengthen a damaged tooth, using it to change a tooth's appearance, shape or alignment, or placed on top of an implant to replace a missing tooth and provide structure for function.
Most often the material used in our office is porcelain or ceramic crowns which can be matched to the color of your natural teeth or other materials including gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic.
We may recommend a crown to:
What are Bridges and how do they work?
A bridge is typically recommended if you're missing one or more teeth, to replaces those spaces. Spaces and gaps remaining by missing teeth with time cause the adjacent teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces or opposing tooth to hyper-erupt, altering and shifting your bite. These gaps can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders due to shifting of teeth within the bone and creating an improper bite.
Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or (cemented or screwed on) implants on both sides of the empty space. These teeth adjacent to the gaps are called abutment teeth which serve as anchors/attachments for the bridge. The replacement tooth is called a pontic, which is attached to the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges.
How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
To fabricate the crowns and bridges, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. All angles of the tooth are shaved down a bit to have enough space for the crown or bridge. After reducing the tooth/teeth, an impression is taken to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge to be made.
The impression and shade chosen is then sent to a dental lab whom then makes your crown or bridge, in the material chosen.
Before the end of your first appointment, a temporary crown or bridge is cemented on with temporary cement to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made at the lab. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth with permanent cement.