If you want a smile that’s your crowning glory, you may need a crown to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance.
Crowns are an ideal way to rebuild teeth which have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. The crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.Crowns are sometimes also known as ‘caps’.
Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials:
- Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and layers of porcelain are then applied over it.
- Porcelain: these crowns are not as strong as bonded crowns but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
- Porcelain and composite: porcelain and composite resin materials can sometimes look the most natural. However, these crowns are not as strong as bonded metal crowns
- Precious metal (gold and palladium): these crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are not usually used at the front of the mouth, where they are highly visible.
Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the tooth, its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
A crown is made by preparing the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will mean removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner ‘core’. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. A shade match will also be taken to match the crown to your existing teeth unless you are having a gold crown The impressions will then be sent to a lab and given to the technician, along with any other information they need to make the crown.
In the video clip above it shows the stages of the procedure start to finish for a dental crown
Gaps in your smile can often make your feel very self conscious. A bridge can help fill the gap and restore confidence in your smile. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.
There are a few different types of bridges
1. Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional bridges are the most popular kind of bridge. The bridge is made up of 2 crowned teeth called abutments that serve as anchors for the bridge and a replacement tooth or teeth, called a pontic, which is attached to the crowns that covers the abutments.
Traditional bridges can be used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by your missing tooth. Bridges are even strong enough to replace molars. The downside of traditional bridges is that your dentist will need to prepare the adjacent teeth by removing their enamel to make room for the crowns that will be cemented on top. Since enamel doesn't grow back, these teeth will always need to be protected with crowns, even if you later choose a different type of bridge.
2. Cantilever Bridges
Cantilever bridges are another option for replacing missing teeth. They are very similar to traditional bridges, but the pontic is supported by an abutment on only one side, rather than on both sides. So if there's only one natural tooth next to the gap, a bridge can still be secured.
Like traditional bridges, your dentist will need to prepare the adjacent tooth to support the bridge by removing its enamel. Because these restorations are only supported on one side, they can act as a lever in some cases which may lead to complications like fractured teeth or loosened crowns. One of the advantages of this bridge is only one tooth needs to be prepped to be an abutment rather than 2 teeth like a traditional bridge.
3. Maryland Bridges
Maryland bridges are considered a conservative alternative to traditional bridges. These bridges consist of a pontic that is held in place by a metal or porcelain framework. This framework is bonded onto the backs of the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. Since this type of bridge isn't held in place by crowns, the adjacent teeth don't need to be filed.
While Maryland bridges are more conservative than traditional bridges, they do have their downsides. The strength of the bridge is limited by the strength of the resin that holds it in place, so it may not stay in place in areas of the mouth where the teeth are subjected to a lot of biting force, like the molars. The framework may also get in the way of your gums or your bite.
Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth.