Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and bridges, almost alike implants, are fixed prosthetic devices, which are permanently fixed into the existing teeth or implants. They can only be removed by dentists or specialists. While a crown serves for the purpose of restoration of a tooth for protection and prevention purposes, a bridge fills in an area left by a missing tooth.

Firstly, a crown is a cover, or a cap used to protect a damaged tooth. Besides helping to protect the damaged tooth, a crown can be used for positioning purposes, its shape improval and a better visual appearance. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide the implant with a specific shape and structure for easy functioning. Crowns can be made out of porcelain, to match the colour of your natural teeth, however, crowns can also be made out of other materials such as metal alloys, acrylic, ceramic or gold. These metal alloys are usually stronger than porcelain (such as in fillings where amalgam fillings are stronger than the typical porcelain fillings) and your dentist may recommend them for your chewing back teeth which have to abstain more pressure. Your dentist may recommend crowns for various reasons. It may be, because you may need to replace quite a large filling where a tooth does not remain, you may need to protect a weak tooth from fracturing, you may need to restore a fractured tooth, you may need to attach a bridge, cover a dental implant, cover a stained or poorly shaped tooth, or you may need to protect a weak tooth that has undergone root canal treatment and needs protection. The cost of a crown can vary depending on your unique situation and how comprehensive the crown needs to be or even on what tooth you are getting a crown. Your dentist will discuss the cost estimates with you, however, on average the dental crown is said to be about $500-1500.

On the other hand, bridges are recommended by dentists if you are missing teeth to ensure the positioning or the alignment of the teeth stay proper. Usually what happens is when you have missing teeth, the remaining teeth eventually shift into the gaps, resulting in an uneven bite. This unevenness can eventually cause problems such as gum disease. What bridges do is they close the space where the teeth are missing. They are attached properly to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. Very similar to crowns, bridges are made out of different materials. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth, its function and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth to ensure visual appeal. The cost of a bridge can vary depending on your unique situation and how comprehensive the bridge needs to be. Your dentist will discuss the cost estimates with you, however, on average the dental bridge is said to be anywhere in the range of $500-1200.

Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly and not cause further problems. After reducing the tooth, your dentist or specialist will take an impression, which is basically making a mold of your teeth to provide the proper sizing for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the colour of your natural teeth. The impression is then sent to a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge, in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready which may take a week or two depending on various factors, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.

While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes become loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge or crown can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it if the area holding it becomes damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. It is also of course important to see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings. For prevention purposes, avoid damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.