What is a Crown?
A crown is a little like a thimble that covers the entire surface of your tooth. They are, by far, the strongest dental restoration available and also have great aesthetic advantages. Crowns are processed in a dental laboratory and are made of a gold and palladium alloy. In cases where the tooth is visible, a porcelain layer is fused to the alloy to create a realistic and attractive natural tooth appearance.
Bridges are constructed of the same materials in much the same way. A bridge is a single unit made up of two or three crowns and one or two ‘artificial’ teeth also known as ‘Pontics’. A bridge works by placing crowns on the ‘anchor’ teeth surrounding the gap. The pontics are fixed to the side of the crowns and replace the original missing tooth/teeth.
Why do I need a Crown?
Conventional filling methods are not always strong enough to restore large fractures or cavities. Sufficient tooth structure is needed in order for fillings to bond. Also, the size of the filling may simply be putting too much stress on the material, causing the filling to fail.
A crown will provide the strength required to fully restore the tooth to its original function. By covering the entire surface of the tooth, it also prevents further fractures from occurring around the weak edges of the restoration.
Why do I need a Bridge?
With missing teeth, extra stress is often placed on the remaining teeth and opposing or adjoining teeth can shift into the spaces left, causing changes to your bite. This can lead to painful joint problems and even arthritis.
A bridge can restore chewing functions in areas where teeth have been lost, and can also provide great aesthetics in cases where missing teeth are obvious in appearance.
What are the advantages of Crowns and Bridges?
Crowns and bridges can safely and successfully restore function to teeth deemed irreparable by general dental treatment. They can provide aesthetically pleasing results to badly broken, stained, misshaped or missing teeth. They provide strength and stability in areas of the mouth that have become weak.
What are the disadvantages of Crowns and Bridges?
Crown and bridge work requires a long initial appointment of at least one hour, and treatment can take up to two weeks to complete. The temporary crowns are designed to be easily removed at the next appointment, and may fracture in the interim, prompting another dental appointment.
Crowns and bridges are made of strong and precious alloys and therefore can be expensive. The cost will vary depending on the number of teeth treated, and whether it is gold or tooth coloured.
How do I look after my crown or bridge?
It is important to remember that there is still living tooth structure underneath crowns that can decay like normal teeth. Brushing thoroughly around the gum margins where the edge of the crown meets the tooth and daily flossing will prevent decay and plaque occurring in the area. Floss threaders and small interdental brushes are recommended to clean underneath The Pontic or ‘false tooth’ on your bridge. This prevents inflammation of the gum as well as decay to the adjoining anchor teeth.