Crowns and bridges are a fixed solution to missing or damaged teeth. This restorative procedure uses prosthetic devices to return your smile to its natural state. A crown is used when the tooth structure is damaged or fractured. A bridge is used when one or more teeth are missing.
What is a crown?
A crown is basically a manufactured tooth. It’s generally made of porcelain or ceramic that can be colour and texture-matched to your existing teeth. A crown can also be made of gold alloys for improved strength when replacing a back tooth. Often a metal crown will have porcelain bonded to the exterior to give it strength and a natural look.
When is a crown or bridge required?
Crowns and bridges are used to repair a number of different dental problems.
A crown can be used when:
a tooth is fractured or damaged
too much decay has weakened a tooth
a tooth is severely discoloured
a tooth is misshapen
a dental bridge needs an anchor.
A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. It is also a possible solution when dentures are unstable, uncomfortable or aesthetically displeasing.
To find out if you’re a suitable candidate for a crown or bridge, it’s essential that you are assessed by a dentist. Once you explain to your dentist the result you would like to achieve, they will be able to tell you exactly what is, and is not, possible in your situation.
Crown and bridge care
Once your crown or bridge is fitted, it’s important to maintain a regular and effective routine of oral hygiene. Brush and floss two to three times a day, taking extra care to floss around your crown. This will help avoid decay where the crown and the tooth join. Avoid sticky foods such as toffee and lollies, and do not use your teeth inappropriately – chewing pens, crunching ice, gnawing fingernails, etc.
A dental floss threader, which looks like a small bendy brush, can be used to clean under your bridge. There are also water jets on the market that will help keep your bridge clean.
Whether you have a crown or a bridge, the most important thing is to regularly visit your dentist for a checkup and clean. This way problems can be detected early, allowing them to be corrected before they become painful and expensive.