What are Dental Crowns and Bridges?
If you’re in need of missing tooth replacement, you might want to look into dental crowns and dental bridges. These are two of the most convenient ways to fix your missing teeth predicament, and in this article we’re going to take a look into what a dental crown is as well as what a dental bridge is and what dental crown procedure entails.
What is a Dental Crown?
So what is a dental crown? It’s a cap, or cover, that dentists put over a tooth. Dental crowns bring the tooth in question back to its normal size, shape, and function. Crowns can even make your teeth stronger and improve the way they look.
There are a few reasons you might want to get yourself a crown; cavities that are too large for fillings, teeth that are cracked or worn down, after having root canal treatment done, or to cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth and fix your smile.
Dental crowns can be made from ceramics, metal alloys, porcelain, porcelain that’s been fused to metal, or composite resin. Whatever the material, it will likely be colored so that it blends in with the natural color of your teeth.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is made with two or more dental crowns on either side of a gap made by a missing tooth, with a false tooth (or teeth) placed in between. These type of fake teeth are called pontics, and they can be made of multiple materials such as alloys, porcelain, gold, or a combination of them. The purpose of a dental bridge is just what its name implies, to bridge the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is supported by natural teeth or implants if that’s the case.
Different Types of Crowns and Bridges
You have four different kinds of dental crowns, mostly based on the type of material used.
- Porcelain fused to metal. This type of crown is stronger than regular porcelain due to the fact that it’s attached to a metal structure.
- Generally used for fixing front teeth, since ceramic blends well with the natural color of teeth.
- Base metal alloys. These non-noble metals are incredibly resistant to corrosion, and make very strong crowns. They also require less tooth removal for fitting than any other type of crown.
- Gold alloys. These are a mix of metals, including gold and copper. This crown will not fracture or wear away at the tooth itself. It’s also incredibly durable
The filling materials and the tooth underneath the crown will dictate the sealing ability of all-porcelain crowns. The other three, however, provide far superior seals against leakage. Gold and metal alloys are still the best, sturdiest materials for crowns.
Likewise, there are also four types of dental bridges.
- Traditional dental bridges are more popular than the other three. These use dental crowns on either side of the gap which hold the pontics (false teeth) in place. Dental crowns can also be referred to as abutments. These are cemented onto the teeth adjacent to the gap. The only downside to traditional bridges is that your dentist will have to remove the enamel from the adjacent teeth to make space for the crowns to be cemented on top.
- Cantilever bridges are similar to the traditional ones, except only one side of the pontic will have an abutment supporting it, as opposed to one on each side. So this type can still be used if only one side of the gap has a natural tooth next to it.
- Maryland bridges consist of a metal or porcelain framework that holds the pontic in place. The framework is bonded to the backs of the two teeth immediately next to the gap. The only downside to Maryland bridges is that the strength of the bridge relies solely on the strength of the resin holding it in place.
- Implant-supported bridges can be used when there’s more than a single tooth missing. These bridges use dental implants for support instead of crowns or frameworks. Normally, an implant is placed for each missing tooth. These bridges feel very comfortable and secure.
The procedure for crowns is rather simple. The first visit is for investigation and prep. An x-ray will be taken and an impression will be taken on the tooth. The second visit is for placing the crown. If the dentist uses a digital model called a wand to make 3D models of the tooth, it’s possible for the crown to be placed on the same day.
It’s similar with dental bridges. The first trip to the dentist is for preparation and placing temporary bridges. A second appointment will be necessary to place the permanent bridge. Taking care of your bridge after your done with the procedure is very important, and it’s advisable to go for follow up visits to your dentist to make sure everything is functioning as it should be