Dental crowns and tooth bridges are what’s known as fixed prosthetic devices. They are, unlike dentures, cemented onto existing teeth or other implants and can only be placed, as well as removed by a licensed dental practitioner.
How Dental Crowns Work
Crowns are used to cover damaged teeth to help strengthen it, as well as to improve its shape, appearance and alignment. Crowns can also be used and place on top of implants to make them look like normal teeth and to help them function as so.
Typically, crowns are made out of gold and metal alloys. But, porcelain and ceramic crowns also exist and can be used to match the color of the rest of your natural teeth.
Of the said materials, alloys are much stronger, as well as much more durable and are recommended to be used for back teeth. Porcelain may also be bonded to a metal shell for durable, yet attractive finish.
Generally, crowns are recommended for cases such as:
- Replacing fillings so large that there just isn’t enough tooth remaining.
- Protecting a weak tooth from further damage or fractures.
- Restoration of a fractured tooth.
- Attaching a dental bridge.
- Covering a dental implant.
- Covering a misshapen or discolored tooth.
- Covering a tooth that had just recently undergone root canal treatment.
How Tooth Bridges Work
Missing teeth can cause an imbalance which may lead to a variety of dental problems, such as a bad bite, gum disease and even TMJ disorders. As such, those missing one or a couple of teeth may opt to get a dental bridge.
Dental bridges work by spanning the space left over by the missing teeth. They are cemented either to the natural teeth or to the implants, which are referred to as abutments now that they serve as anchors for the ridge.
Like with crowns, there are plenty of materials to choose from when it comes to dental bridges. Though, it is best that you let your dentist decide and discuss with you which material is best for your particular case.
Manufacturing and Fitting
Before a crown or bridge is manufactured or made, your tooth or teeth have to be prepared first. This is usually done by reducing it in size to make sure that the crown or bridge is a perfect fit. Once prepared, an impression will be taken that will be used as molding for the crown or bridge.
The said impression is then sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge is made. Meanwhile, a temporary crown or bridge is placed to cover the prepared area. Once the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary ones are then removed and the new, permanent ones are cemented in place.
Proper Care and Maintenance
Crowns and bridges are built to last for decades, but that does not mean that they’re not prone to breaking, becoming loose or even falling out.
The best way to make sure that your crown or bridge lasts long is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, learning how to use a dental floss and even rinsing with mouthwash. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to visit your dentist regularly as well, for regular checkups and cleaning.