Crowns and Bridges
Crowns are also often referred to as caps. Crowns are covers, like sleeves, that are placed on top of a tooth to help reinforce the strength of that tooth. They are made in a laboratory and various different materials are used in their manufacture. These materials can be zirconia, gold, porcelain or a combination. Crowns can look incredibly aesthetic and lifelike.
Teeth that have a very large filling, which is failing and cannot be refilled, often require a crown to rebuild that tooth.
Root canal treated teeth are often very weak due to the loss of natural tooth substance, these teeth often need a crown cover to prevent them from fracturing.
Due to the very nature of what crowns are, a layer of tooth has to be removed to create space for the crown. Teeth are filed down to create this space, a mould is taken and sent to the laboratory with a prescription to manufacture the desired crown. Whilst the crown is being manufactured, a temporary crown made at the chair side is fitted in place.
One of the disadvantages of crowns is that a tooth has to be filed down, sometimes this amount is almost a third of the tooth. This in turn can compromise the vitality of a tooth and there is a 20% chance that a crowned tooth with have complications in the root canal within 10 years.
If a crown is poorly made and with poor quality material there is a risk of food packing around the crown, tooth decay at the edges and even gum disease whereby the bone supporting the tooth is lost.
Before any crown is constructed, it is imperative that the patients mouth should be in a very healthy state without any decay or ongoing gum disease. Otherwise the crowned tooth is at risk of failure.
At our practice we use great skill and care to ensure that we delicately remove the least amount of tooth tissue, take exact measurements and send our crowns to be manufactured by UK based highly trained and experienced technicians who are all registered with the General Dental Council.
A bridge is a means of replacing a missing tooth or teeth, using the neighbouring teeth as supporting structures.
The teeth on either side of the missing tooth / teeth are trimmed down in the same way as for a crown.
The crowns made are joined together by adding a false tooth in the middle. The resulting structure is called a bridge.
These bridges are also supported by teeth on either side of a missing tooth however the teeth are not trimmed down or damaged. A wing is attached (glued) to the supporting tooth to hold the new false tooth in place.
Like crowns, bridges are fabricated in a laboratory utilising the similar materials. Maintenance care for bridges is important focussing on regular flossing, brushing, as well as regular check-ups with a dentist.
Dental implants can be used as an alternative to a bridge. A dental implant can be used to replace a missing tooth or teeth and is independent of any neighbouring teeth.