Cosmetic Dentistry: Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and Bridges

When you talk about cosmetic dentistry, you cannot fail to mention crowns and bridges. These are essential parts of cosmetic dentistry. Many people need crown and bridge procedures to treat or correct various parts of the tooth. Professional oral health practitioners offer procedures to help fix your teeth for a better smile.

However, how do you know if you need this form of treatment? And are you sure you can distinguish between the two? Not to worry, because you can find all information about this topic here. Keep reading to find the answers to these and more questions about crowns and bridges.


What Is A Crown?

A crown is essentially a cap for a damaged tooth made from various materials depending on the size, patient’s budget, and position of the tooth. You may have seen someone’s crown at the back of their mouth when they yawned in gold or silver.

Additionally, some people have crowns on their front teeth, but they are barely noticeable because surgeons match the color and texture of the surrounding teeth. The most common materials used in making dental crowns include porcelain, metal, composite resin, ceramic, and zirconia. You could also receive a dental crown made from different materials, such as porcelain infused into metal.


Types of Crowns

There are four main types of crowns:

  • Permanent crown. A permanent crown is what a dentist will place over your damaged tooth to protect it permanently. Permanent crowns often cover the whole tooth and take time to construct to match the initial shape of the tooth without standing out too much.
  • Temporary crown. As the name suggests, a temporary crown will only stay in your mouth for a short period. It is a quick fix while you wait for the construction of a permanent crown. Therefore, the dentist will place it over your damaged tooth with an adhesive that does not stick as much, to make it easy to remove.
  • One-day crown. Some dentists offer same-day crown installation, thus the name ‘one-day crown.’ The crown is made from ceramic right there in the office; after scanning the tooth and you can go home with the crown fitted onto the tooth.
  • Onlay or 3/4 crown. This type of crown does not cover the whole tooth. If you do not need a full crown, your dentist will install this type that only covers some of the tooth, where it has sustained damage.


Who Needs Crowns?

To check if you are eligible for a crown, look out for the following signs:

  • If you have a big cavity that is too large for filling. Often the dentist will use a filling to fix cavities, but if it is too big, then a dentist will recommend a crown to cover the damaged tooth. This is because there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling.
  • If your tooth cracks unexplainably. A cracked tooth without symptoms may need a crown to prevent further damage to the tooth.
  • If the filling is failing. If you have received filling that is now breaking down, you will need a crown to prevent further damage and improve support.
  • If you undergo a root canal. A root canal is an invasive procedure that leaves the tooth fragile, needing protection. That is why dentists recommend crowns for patients.


What Is A Bridge?

On the other hand, a bridge is what a dentist will use to close any gaps in your smile. It is a false tooth (or multiple false teeth) held together by natural teeth on either side of the gap. The false tooth is known as a pontic.

Like crowns, physicians make bridges from a variety of materials. However, most are made from porcelain to match the color and texture of the surrounding teeth. Bridges also help to restore your smile and give the receiver more confidence. The construction of a bridge is an intricate process because it has to fit just right to allow normal speech and eating without spontaneously falling out.


Types of Bridges

There are four main types of bridges:

  • Implant-supported dental bridge. This involves the use of implants surgically placed for every missing tooth. These implants will hold the bridges in position. Sometimes the dentist will suspend a false tooth between two implant-supported ones. It is the strongest form of bridging.
  • Traditional dental bridge. This is when the dentist uses dental crowns to hold the false teeth in place. The dentist will fit crowns onto the abutment teeth (teeth on each side of the gap) then use them to keep the false teeth in place.
  • Maryland dental bridge. This is similar to the traditional dental bridge in that it uses abutment teeth. However, instead of crowns, the dentist will use a metal or porcelain framework bonded on the back of the abutment teeth to support the false teeth.
  • Cantilever dental bridge. In this type, the pontic is supported by a dental crown on one abutment side, so you only need one natural tooth for support.


Who Need Bridges?

If you are wondering if you need a bridge, consider what it can do for you:

  • They restore smiles. No more smiling with gaps; bridges blend in with your teeth to restore your smile.
  • They help with speech. Front missing teeth mainly affect the way you talk. With bridges, you will be back to speaking normally.
  • They help with chewing. Missing teeth affect your ability to chew but with a bridge; you will be back to comfortable mastication.
  • They keep natural teeth in place. If you have gaps in your teeth, it could affect the positioning of your natural teeth. Therefore, fixing these gaps will help significantly.

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