Crown and Bridge
In certain cases a dental crown is the preferred option for restoring optimal function to a tooth. A crown also has the ability to restore the appearance of a tooth.
What is a crown?
A crown is a tooth shaped cap that completely covers a damaged or weakened natural tooth. It can be made entirely of porcelain, be a metal alloy covered with porcelain or be all in metal. The crown serves to strengthen the tooth and protect it from further damage. These are some guidelines for recommending a crown:
- cracked, fractured, or extensively restored tooth
- tooth affected by large caries
- severely worn tooth
- used to modify the shape and / or colour of a tooth
- restore a tooth following a root canal treatment
- tooth to serve as a pillar for a bridge
- restore an implant
Regardless of the prosthetic option chosen, the vitality of the tooth always remains a concern for the dentist.
The tooth that will receive a crown does not routinely need to undergo a root canal treatment. However, when the dentist prepares the tooth for the crown, it is possible that a root canal may become necessary. For example, if the underlying tooth is badly damaged and the support of the future crown is compromised, or if the tooth becomes inflamed (painful) due to the procedure.
How long will a crown last?
It is impossible to predict the longevity of a crown. Literature and various studies estimate the longevity in a clean mouth to be between 10 and 20 years. If not well maintained decay can develop at the junction between the crown and the natural tooth. A crown may therefore need to be redone more than once in a lifetime.
The Fixed Dental Bridge
A bridge, is also called a “fixed bridge” or “fixed partial prosthesis”. A dental bridge literally bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is made up of two or more crowns that are placed on the teeth on either side of the gap . These two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth. In between the abutments are the false tooth/teeth. It is permanently attached and cannot be removed. Bridges are important as they can restore the ability to chew, speak, restore the smile and prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
Types of Bridges
There are several different types of dental bridges. Your dentist will recommend the one that is best for you. A bridge can also be fabricated to sit on dental implants.
- Teeth adjacent to the edentulous space (abutment teeth) are evaluated to determine their ability to support the bridge. In some cases, the abutment teeth will have to undergo a pretreatment before the bridge can be started. This could include a root canal, filling, post, etc.
- The abutment teeth are prepared (cut) in the same way as for a crown.
- The dentist then takes an impression, which will be sent to a dental laboratory. The bridge will be manufactured with precision and then returned to the dentist. As for the crown, the bridge can be made of different materials. Your dentist will choose the option best suited for your case.
- Once the abutment teeth are trimmed, they must be protected. The dentist will make a temporary acrylic bridge that will allow you to function normally until the permanent bridge is ready. The temporary bridge helps to protect the gum tissue and serves to protects the tooth from fluids, food and air. It also maintains the space relationship to the adjoining teeth.
- When the bridge is ready, your dentist will try it in and check several things. These include the fit, and its relationship to both the opposing teeth and adjacent teeth before it is permanently cemented to the abutment teeth.
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