A crown, or cap, is a restoration which completely covers or caps the remaining part of a tooth. It’s placed over and permanently bonded to your prepared tooth and is fitted and shaped to seamlessly blend with your other teeth providing superior aesthetics and function.
Essentially, a crown protects a tooth and holds it together, effectively strengthening teeth and restoring teeth to their full functionality and appearance.
Some of the reasons your dentist may recommend a crown:
- Support teeth with large fillings when very little natural tooth is left
- Strengthen and protect root canal treated teeth
- Restore badly broken or decayed teeth allowing them to function correctly
- Protect cracked, chipped or fractured teeth
- Replace a missing tooth in conjunction with a dental bridge or implants
- Improve the appearance of
- poorly shaped teeth
- discoloured teeth unable to be treated by more conventional bleaching
- teeth which have more severe dental problems
A crown sits over a tooth protecting the weakened structure underneath. They can be made from a variety of materials depending on the individual situation.
- Porcelain (ceramic)
- Precious metals such as gold
- Porcelain bonded to metal
Full porcelain crowns are the most natural looking and aesthetically pleasing option but they are not usually strong enough to survive the vigorous chewing we do on our rear teeth and so are generally reserved for the teeth towards the front of your mouth
If a crown is required for a tooth at the rear of the mouth it must be able to withstand eating and chewing pressure and so a porcelain bonded to metal crown will usually be recommended.
Two appointments are required to fit a crown.
If further work is being completed before the placement of your crown such as a root canal or if a post is required for stability then more appointments may be required.
During your first appointment your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and make you a plastic, temporary crown to protect your tooth until your crown is ready. Your impressions along with details on the shape, size, colour and surface characteristics of your teeth are sent off to the laboratory where highly skilled technicians will make your crown.
After two weeks your crown is returned to us and we are able to remove the temporary and cement your permanent crown into place. Your dentist will also do a final check to ensure your crown affords a seamless and permanent restoration of your tooth
If your root filled tooth is badly damaged or decayed and there is not enough to hold the crown in place, your dentist is able to place a post into your tooth providing some additional structure for your tooth and allowing the crown to have a solid base onto which to bond
While crowns can last up to 10 years, or even a lifetime, provided they are well looked-after, they can occasionally come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown is to practice good oral hygiene.
Caring for your crown is just like that of your other teeth
- Regular brushing
- Regular flossing
- Regular visits to the dentist for professional scale and cleans and to ensure your crown remains healthy
- Avoid chewing on hard foods such as ice, betel nuts and hard candy because they can break the crown and your natural teeth.
Crown and Bridge
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth by spanning the space where the teeth are missing. Crowns are attached to the natural teeth or implants on both sides of the gap and one or more crowns (replacements teeth) are cemented together to cross the gap forming a bridge
Bridges are commonly used if you’re missing one or more teeth.
Missing teeth can have major consequences for your smile, your bite and your ability to chew food. The gaps they leave behind are prone to gum disease and the remaining teeth can rotate or shift into the empty spaces leading to bite disorders and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Eventually the jaw bone in this empty area wastes away which can cause a collapse of the lips and cheeks and aging your appearance.
There are a number of solutions for missing teeth which include the more traditional crown and bridge treatment as well as implants and dentures. These all vary considerably in cost, effectiveness and treatment times. Talk with your dentist to determine which solution suits you best
Every individual is different and there are many construction techniques available to your dentist. Your dentist will make a bridge which is specifically designed to suit the structure of your mouth. Two of the commonly used are:
- Standard bridge is one where the bridge attaches to crowns, one on either side of the gap.
- Maryland bridge is one where the replacement teeth are glued to your natural teeth rather than crowns
As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which type of bridge will best suit you based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost.
A minimum of two appointments are required to fit a bridge.
If further work is being completed before the placement of your bridge such as if root canals or posts are required on the teeth being used for stability, then more or longer appointments may be required.
During your first appointment your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and make you a plastic, temporary bridge to protect your teeth until your bridge is ready. Your impressions along with details on the shape, size, colour and surface characteristics of your teeth are sent off to the laboratory where highly skilled technicians will make your bridge.
After two weeks your bridge is returned to us and we are able to remove the temporary bridge and cement your permanent bridge into place. Your dentist will do a final check to ensure your bridge affords a seamless and permanent restoration.
How long your bridge is strong and effective is entirely dependent on your oral hygiene routines. Dental bridges are worth the expense as long as you look after them. Take good care of your bridge and it could give you 10 years or longer of good service.
Caring for your dental bridge is like that of your other teeth with added extra requirements! Food can become trapped underneath the bridge where it’s difficult to remove. But it’s very important you take the time to floss and remove it as these particles can expose the adjacent teeth to decay and if they become damaged by dental disease the bridge can lose its stable structure and support.
To ensure longevity of your crown and bridge practice good oral hygiene.
- Regular brushing
- Regular flossing
- Our dentists recommend piksters or a floss threader to carry floss under the bridge removing the trapped food.
- Regular visits to the dentist for professional scale and cleans and to ensure your bridge remains healthy