Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are fixed over the tooth. There are several causes due to which your teeth might get damaged, ranging from tooth decay, injuries, or just normal wear and tear. A dental crown safeguards the tooth, simultaneously improving its appearance. It restores the shape, size, and function of the tooth. The crowns are customized to match the shade of the surrounding teeth. It covers the visible portion of a tooth when it is fixed on it.
When do you need a crown?
A crown is needed in the following cases:
- A crown protects a weak tooth from further cracks and fractures.
- It can be used to cover a dental implant.
- If the tooth does not have enough natural tooth structure remaining after a large filling, crowns come in handy to support them.
- The dental crowns help in restoring a fractured tooth.
- It serves as a cap for a discolored or badly shaped tooth.
- It functions as a bridge to replace missing teeth.
What are the steps in placing a crown?
The entire procedure of fixing the crown normally takes about two to three visits with your dentist.
- The first step entails an examination of your damaged tooth. Once it is finalized that there is a requirement for a crown, the dentist starts working on the tooth by removing the outer portion, including decay. This is done to ensure the fit of the crown. If additional tooth structure is required to support a crown, the dentist will build up the core of the tooth.
- During the next step, an impression of your tooth is taken to make an exact copy of your tooth. The impressions are made from a mold or by digitally scanning the tooth. The molds or digital scans are sent to a dental lab to have the crown made. This process may take about a week or so.
- In the meanwhile, a temporary crown is fitted to protect your tooth while the actual crown is being manufactured. It is advised to avoid eating hard food during this period. With the latest technology available, it has become possible to get fitted with a crown on the same day.
- The ultimate step involves the dentist placing the permanent crown once it is ready. The necessary adjustments are carried out to check the crown for an exact fit and appearance. Once it is determined that the results are satisfactory, the crown is cemented into place using a strong adhesive.
How should you care for the crowns?
The crowns can also break and crack like natural teeth. It can develop cavities under the tooth. Proper upkeep of the crown is very much necessary to prevent cavities or damage to it. They have to be brushed and flossed regularly with fluoride toothpaste. It is very important to avoid chewing hard foods such as ice or other hard objects. Regular examination and professional cleaning of the crowns will make them last longer.
What type of materials is used to make the crowns?
The crowns should look natural and match the shades of the regular teeth of a patient. For such types of crowns, porcelain or porcelain fused to metal or composite resin is used. In the case of molar teeth which are deep inside the mouth and hidden from view, metal crowns can be used to reduce the cost. The metal crowns are strong and sturdy as well.
A dental bridge perfectly bridges the gap caused by more than one missing teeth. A dental bridge comprises one or more crowns for teeth on either side of a gap. These adjoining teeth, besides the gap, are called abutment teeth. The bridges can also be an alternative to dentures. They serve both the practical function of enabling you to chew and speak better, together with aesthetics purpose. The bridges can be manufactured from different materials such as gold, alloys, or porcelain. Porcelain is the preferred choice of material for the bridges as it can be matched with the tooth’s natural color. Either dental implants or natural teeth support the bridges.
What are various kinds of Dental Bridges?
- Traditional Bridges: In this method of bridges, a crown is manufactured for a tooth or implant on either side of a missing tooth, with a pontic in between. These are the most commonly used type of bridge and are usually made from either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Resin-Bonded Bridges:They are also called Maryland bonded bridges and are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or plastic teeth, and gums supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The metal or porcelain extensions are bonded to the existing teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges: These bridges can be used only when there are adjacent teeth on one side of a missing tooth. It is not used anymore and is not suggested for the back teeth as it can put too much force on the adjoining teeth, thereby causing damage to them.
- Implant-supported Dental Bridge: As the name indicates, implant-supported bridges use dental implants instead of crowns or frameworks. One implant is placed surgically for every missing tooth in such dental bridges, and the implant holds the bridge in position. If a dental implant for each missing tooth is not possible, the bridge may have a suspended pontic between implant-supported crowns. This type of bridge is considered the most durable and strongest and requires two surgeries; one is performed to insert the implants in the jawbone and a second surgery to fix the bridge. This procedure could take a couple of months to be completed.
What are the advantages of Dental Bridges?
- The bridges can help restore your beautiful smile. The ability of your teeth to chew and bite is re-established.
- The shape of the face contour can be maintained.
- The remaining teeth can be held in their designated positions.
- The forces in your bite properly are distributed by the replacement of the missing teeth.
How are the Dental Bridges fixed?
During the initial consultation with the dentist for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. As part of the preparation, the recontouring of these teeth is done by removing a portion of the enamel to make a place for a crown to be fixed over them. Next, the teeth’ impressions are taken, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns are manufactured in a dental lab. In the meanwhile, a temporary bridge is fixed to safeguard the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being readied.
After a few days, your temporary bridge will be removed, and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be fitted. But before that, the bridge will be checked and adjusted as per the requirements to achieve a perfect fit. The metal framework may be checked for proper fit and bite. In case the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, the dentist may cement it temporarily for a few weeks to make sure of the fitting. Once everything is determined satisfactory, the bridge is cemented permanently into position.