Most people have heard the terms “crown” and “bridge” when speaking in dental terms. Most would even say that they have a crown or bridge, but aren’t quite sure what they are, or why their dentist recommended it for them. A good dentist will remain committed to making sure that our patients know all of their options, as well as what they are. Continue reading on more information on crowns and bridges.
A crown is essentially a cap that is placed over a natural tooth to ensure its strength and resistance to decay. They are recommended by dentists when the prognosis of a filling is guarded or poor, and the filling is likely to fall out or fail due to its size. A crown is a preventative measure that prevents further decay of the tooth. In some cases, the use of a crown can be purely cosmetic, as the shade, size, and shape of a crown can all be customized as per the patient and the doctor’s needs and wants. While some people opt for the less-expensive metal crowns, most choose crowns made with porcelain fused to metal for a natural looking crown that will be indistinguishable from a natural tooth.
The process of making a crown:
- An impression is taken of the tooth and surrounding teeth
- A resin material is placed into the crevice representing the tooth that will be prepared for the crown
- The resin material hardens and is trimmed to become the “temporary crown”, which the patient leaves with on that same day to cover the prepared tooth until the “permanent crown” is ready to be cemented, usually in about two weeks.
- The natural tooth is shaved down to a smaller version of itself. In some cases, a post is placed inside the tooth to ensure the stability and integrity of the tooth.
- A final impression is taken. This impression is wrapped up and sent out to a lab, where the permanent crown is fabricated.
- The temporary crown is cemented.
- In two weeks’ time, the permanent crown arrives back at the dental office. The temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented in.
Bridges may seem like a bit of a complicated concept, but they are really just a multi-unit crown, that can cover a number of teeth, usually three, but possibly more, depending on what is recommended by the dentist. Bridges are usually used to replace a missing tooth or even multiple teeth by using the two teeth on either side of the gap as anchors. The result is often a very natural looking replacement for missing teeth.
The process of preparing the teeth for a bridge is much like that of a crown:
- An impression is taken of the teeth that are to be prepared for the bridge
- A resin material is placed into the reservoir which represents the two teeth which will be the anchors for the bridge in order to fabricate the temporary bridge.
- The anchor teeth are shaved down to smaller versions of themselves.
- A final impression is taken. This impression is wrapped up and sent out to a lab, where the bridge will be fabricated.
- The temporary bridge is cemented.
- In two weeks’ time, the permanent bridge is cemented.
It can only be hoped that reading through this post has helped you better understand the use of crowns and bridges. These terms may seem frightening at first, but are really simple procedures when fully understood.