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Crowns and bridges

Dental crowns and dental bridges, sometimes referred to as “dental restorations,” are often used to resolve issues such as weakened, damaged or even missing teeth.

If you have damaged or missing teeth, or your dentist has recommended a restoration, then keep reading to find out more about crowns, bridges and how they might help.

What is a dental crown?

You can think of a dental crown as a kind of hat that sits over top of your natural tooth – except it’s a hat that can strengthen the tooth’s structure and may help restore its appearance. Crowns tend to completely cover the underlying tooth structure, adding a protective layer. You may hear your dentist refer to it as “fixed prosthetic device” (although “strength-giving tooth hat” sounds a bit more festive, if you ask us).

Crowns are usually made from porcelain or gold, with the placement determining which material will suit you best. To create a crown, we begin by taking an impression of your tooth. Firstly, your dentist may need to reduce the size of your tooth by a millimetre or two to ensure a good fit. Then, the impression is sent to the lab, where a crown is made specifically for that tooth.

While you’re waiting for your permanent crown to be made and fitted, we’ll place a temporary crown over the tooth to protect it in the meantime. Our clinic uses CEREC technology, which means we can create the restoration in our own clinic. Depending on your needs and treatment plan, this may be an option for you, which can reduce the time it takes to get your final restoration.

As a result, some patients may be able eligible for a same-day crown, minimising the amount of appointments needed.

When might someone need a crown?

We may suggest a dental crown for a few different reasons. Often, a crown is used to strengthen a tooth that has been damaged but is still in good enough condition to be left in place. For example, if you’ve had a root canal, the natural tooth structure may have been preserved but weakened after the procedure. A crown can help strengthen your natural tooth and lower your risk of further problems. Other times, a crown can be used to restore the look of a damaged tooth if your original tooth is discoloured from damage or trauma. Also, crowns may be used on two teeth when a bridge is needed, which brings us to the next question.

What is a bridge?

If you lose an adult tooth, filling the gap with an artificial tooth can help with chewing or speaking. You may also want to change the look of a gap in your smile, in which case a bridge can be one potential solution. A dental bridge is another type of fixed prosthetic device, and it’s usually made from the same materials as a crown. As the name suggests, a bridge uses anchors on each side of the gap to fill the space. A crown is placed over the teeth on each side. We then fit a bridge in between the crowns, which is meant to imitate the look and feel of a natural tooth. If you’ve lost several teeth in a row, you can also have a bridge with more than one artificial tooth. Just like crowns, dental bridges are made to match your other teeth’s size, shape and colour.

How long can you expect bridges and crowns to last?

Bridges and crowns are designed to be a fixed solution, but how you care for them can impact their longevity. Proper care for bridges and crowns is much like looking after your normal teeth. You’ll need to brush and floss regularly, maintain routine dental appointments and try to minimise your sugar consumption. It is possible for a crown to crack or become damaged, which probably means it will need to be replaced. Routine check-ups may help your dentist spot early signs of damage or wear. Questions about crowns or bridges? Talk to our team or book an appointment today.

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