Crown: When a tooth breaks, chips or decays in a way that it compromises the strength of that tooth, a crown is often the best way to save the tooth and strengthen it. Often associated with root canalled teeth, where the nerve and blood supply of the tooth has been removed, a crown is a fabricated “cap” used to sit over and cover the existing natural tooth. The crown is used to replace the portion of tooth that sits above the gum-line.
Bridge: A bridge is used to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge is an artificial tooth which is anchored on to the natural teeth either side of the gap by crowns.
Types of crowns and bridges
There are a few common materials used for the fabrication of a crown and bridge. These are:
Gold Alloy Crown
Porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM – the metal is usually a Gold Alloy)
All Porcelain Crown
Zirconia Based Crown – Zirconia is a hard white coloured material. It is very good when an excellent aesthetic finish is required for the bridge or crown restoration
All materials listed above are well tolerated by the cheek and gums. The type of material used for the restoration of the teeth will depend on the position in the mouth and also on the patient’s preference. As a general rule crowns or bridges that use the Gold Alloy are used for teeth located towards the back of the mouth.
Crowns and Bridges are used not just for cosmetic reasons, but are also used to restore function (e.g. restoring chewing), to prevent shifting teeth and to prevent excessive stress to surrounding teeth.
3 stages to a Crown/Bridge procedure:
1: Examination (including possible x-rays) and Primary Impressions to get models of the teeth.
2: Preparing the tooth for the Crown/Bridge. This includes:
building up the core/centre of the tooth/teeth
cutting the tooth/teeth down to the correct shape and size
taking a secondary impression of the prepared tooth
taking a correct shade match
placing a temporary restoration on top of the prepared tooth/teeth
3:Add the Crown This stage involves removing the temporary Crown/Bridge and cementing the permanent restoration on to the tooth/teeth. Some minor adjustment of the bite may be necessary.
It is always best to consult us if you feel that a crown is necessary. If we feel that a tooth may be too difficult for a general dentist to restore, we will organise a referral to a Prosthodontist who deals in the restoration of teeth and bites.
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