Crowns and Bridges
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth – to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap – these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth – and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
Crowns and Bridges Q&A
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapened or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant or after root canal therapy.
- To make a cosmetic modification
Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office, whereas most permanent crowns are typically made in a dental laboratory. Typically, temporary crowns are made of an acrylic-based material or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by a lab.
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
- Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common any more and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
Replacing missing teeth with a crown or dental bridge should actually make eating easier. Until you become accustomed to your crown or bridge, eat soft foods that have been cut into small pieces.