Crowns & Bridges
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 on to existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment.
Crowns become necessary when there is insufficient tooth structure to support a filling. Teeth that are severely broken down from decay or fracture can be fully restored to proper appearance and function with a crown restoration .
Bridgework works like a series of connected crowns, replacing missing teeth by bridging the gap and using the surrounding teeth as abutments.
f you are missing one or more natural teeth, then you know how much this diminishes your chewing ability. What you may not realize is that missing teeth also affect your facial structure, increasing stress on remaining teeth and often giving your cheeks a sunken appearance.
Replace a large filling when there isn't enough tooth remaining
Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
Restore a fractured tooth
Attach a bridge
Cover a dental implant
Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment.
A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges.
How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.
Using this impression a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready the temporary crown or bridge is removed and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.
How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
Care and Maintenance
Taking especially good care of your dental bridge is important. The best way to do so is to incorporate good oral hygiene into your daily routine. There are some simple steps you can take to help reduce future oral health problems.
Brush your teeth carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. This is because lodged food can cause your gums and teeth to become infected. (If you do not receive dental attention for the infection, you may experience other problems, which will eventually result in the loss of your bridge.
Properly flossing stops the buildup of food and the dental problems this can cause by cleaning those hard-to-reach places between the bridge and its attached teeth.