Crowns and Bridges
A dental crown (often referred to as a cap) is used to restore the look and function of a tooth that has been weakened as a result of dental decay, old restorations or cracks. Dental crowns can be made from porcelain or a gold alloy, or a combination of the two, and are made to mimic the tooth’s shape, size and colour.
Reasons you may require a crown:
- Broken or cracked teeth.
- Improve cosmetics (shape, size, colour)
- Heavily decayed teeth
- To protect teeth that have large fillings
- To restore a dental implant to replace a missing tooth
- To strengthen a tooth which has had a root canal treatment
A dental bridge is one method that is used to permanently fill a space created by a missing tooth (or teeth). Traditionally a dental bridge is made up of two crowns, one for each tooth either side of the gap, with a pontic (or fake tooth) joined to the crowns. Sometimes several missing teeth can be replaced in one long bridge. This provides a permanent, aesthetic and functional tooth replacement, which can be an excellent alternative to a removable denture or dental implant. Generally the cost is between that of dentures and implants
Sometimes a bridge will be held on one side only as a cantilever, this means less lab and chair time so it is less expensive, but can only be used if the bite is not too strong.
A 'Maryland' bridge has metal wings (rather than full crowns) and is cemented into place with a minimum of tooth removed to make space for the 'wings'. Again this can only work if the bite is not too strong.
A relatively new, more cost effective treatment is a composite resin cantilever bridge which builds up the entire false tooth in composite resin with special fibres acting as both the matrix for the crown and a strong connection to the supporting tooth. As it is not made of porcelain it is not as strong and stains more easily, however it is easier to repair. It may mean throwing away an old denture or small denture that may have frustrated you for years.