Crown & Bridgework
Crowns are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cover the portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line providing a protective shell. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that fill in or cover over just a portion of a tooth. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.
Crowns can be made out of porcelain (meaning some sort of dental ceramic), metal (a gold or other metal alloy), or a combination of both. Other terms that are used to refer to dental crowns are “dental caps” and “tooth caps.”
All porcelain crowns are used more often to replace front teeth and will be more aesthetic, and match natural teeth. However they are not as strong as crowns containing metal.
Why do teeth need dental crowns?
A dentist might recommend placing a dental crown for a variety of reasons but, in general, most of these reasons will usually fall within one of the following basic categories:
- To restore a tooth to its original shape.
- To strengthen a tooth.
- To improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.
What is involved?
The tooth has sufficient tooth structure removed to provide space for the crown. An impression of the tooth is taken, and a bespoke crown constructed by a technician. A temporary crown is placed in the meantime to maintain the space and appearance of the tooth.
At a second visit the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown tried in and if satisfactory, cemented in place.
If there is insufficient tooth structure present, a post may be placed in the root canal following Root Canal Therapy to help hold the crown in place.
Bridges are types of dental restorations, which are used to replace missing teeth. These restorations are fixed in place unlike Dentures, but rely upon adjacent teeth to support the bridge, unlike Dental Implants.
There are three types of bridge available:
These are used to replace a single missing tooth, and consist of a porcelain false tooth, which has a metal framework, which then is glued to the adjacent tooth. They do not need any preparation of the adjacent tooth and are a very conservative treatment option.
This requires preparation of the adjacent tooth or teeth as for crowns, and then a bridge which covers the prepared teeth contains the missing tooth or teeth is placed. This has the advantage that a gap of more than one tooth can be restored, and if the adjacent teeth are heavily filled or do not look particularly good, they are covered by the bridge as they would be with a crown.
This is a combination of the Conventional Bridge on one tooth and a Maryland Bridge on the other tooth beside the gap, and can have the advantages of both of the above options.