In cosmetic dentistry, you may come across terms like crowns and bridges. What exactly are they? Most bridges and dental crowns are fixed artificial devices which are cemented on existing teeth/implants. These devices are not removable and they can only be dislodged by the dentist.
The dental crown is used to cover the entire damaged tooth. The crown can be used not only to strengthen the damaged tooth but also to improve its shape, alignment and appearance. The dentist may also place the crown on implants to boost the tooth’s structure and shape. It is also good to note that with the ceramic and porcelain crowns, the dentist can match them to the natural color of your teeth. Other materials used to make the crown include acrylic, gold, ceramic and metal alloys. Metal alloys are stronger compared to porcelain and are recommended for the back teeth that experience higher bite pressure. Porcelain that is bonded to metal shells is used because it is attractive and strong.
The dentist might recommend the use of crowns for the following reasons:
The dental bridges are recommended in aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry when there are teeth missing. The bridge is used to cover spaces left by lost teeth. This is important especially when considering the gap left by missing teeth can cause teeth to shift or rotate thus causing bad bites and they can also pave room for gum disease as well as temporomandibular joint disorders.
The dentist will cement the bridge to the implants or natural teeth that are on either sides of the gap. These teeth are known as the abutments and they play the role of an anchor for the dental bridge. Just like with the crowns, you have an assortment of materials to choose from when picking a bridge. The selected material will depend on the location of the missing teeth, aesthetic considerations, function and cost.
Prior to the making of the bridge, the teeth are filed to size to allow for the crown/bridge to fit comfortably. An impression is then taken. This is used to create a mold. The dental lab will use the impression to create the crown or bridge using the selected materials. While the crown/bridge is being made, a temporary crown/bridge is placed on the reduced teeth.
Dental crowns and bridges can last for more than a decade. However, they may get loose or even fall off. Practicing good oral hygiene will increase the lifespan of the crown/bridge. You should also see your hygienist and dentist regularly for professional cleaning and checkups. You also need to avoid chewing on ice, hard foods and other objects.