Restorative dentistry can not only repair and restore teeth that would otherwise be left damaged or missing, it can help your self-confidence so you can smile again. Porcelain crowns can cover up individual teeth that are affecting your smile, whether they are damaged through decay or through injury. If you have a missing tooth or need to have a tooth extracted, bridges can fill in the gap using your natural teeth or using an implant.
What is a crown?
A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement. Made from porcelain, they are a natural looking restoration that blend in with your natural teeth. Crowns are used for several reasons:
- As a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth
- As a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings
- To correct minor problems in natural teeth like spacing and irregular shape or severe discolouration.
- To fit on implants to replace individual missing teeth.
What does having a crown fitted involve?
We’ll first carry out a thorough clinical examination using digital x-rays. We’ll assess your general oral health and determine if having a crown is the best course of action for you. We’ll also talk through the treatment and discuss any worries.
We will then prepare your tooth, first numbing the area with local anaesthetic. We will need to remove some of the enamel to allow space for the crown. Once finished, we use our intraoral camera to collect accurate digital scans of the prepared tooth. These measurements can be sent to the dental lab where your crown will be made. In the meantime, a temporary crown is made and fitted onto the trimmed tooth.
At the third appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the tooth surfaces cleaned. The completed crown is tried on the tooth for fit, harmony with the bite, and appearance. Finally, the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth with dental cement.
How long do crowns last and how do I care for them?
Crowns are made of materials that are resistant to decay. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease.
Ceramic on the surface may chip or fracture so it’s worth avoiding chewing excessively-hard substances like ice or bones. Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health as well as keeping the crown trouble-free. The most vulnerable portion of the crown is the margin or the junction between tooth and crown.
Regular check-ups will enable your dentist to detect any problems with your crown and recommend necessary treatment.
If you feel embarrassed about gaps in your smile, a natural-looking dental bridge can successfully fill in those unsightly spaces and help restore your confidence. A longer lasting alternative to dentures, dental bridges are an effective way to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of a false tooth, positioned between two crowns, which slot over the teeth either side of a gap (known as abutment teeth) or they can be held in place by dental implants.
What are bridges made of?
Bridges are usually made of a precious metal. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength.
Are bridges expensive?
Although a bridge may seem costly, they can be a wise investment that will give many years of good service. It will also improve your appearance and bite. A bridge uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, and in this way, it’s similar to ordering a piece of hand-made jewellery.
What does having a bridge fitted involve?
If you are using your natural teeth to support the bridge, these teeth will need to be prepared. We will need to assess the health of your teeth as well as check if they can support the bridge. We’ll take x-rays to fully check if a bridge is suitable.
We’ll invite you back to have the teeth prepared. Using local anaesthetic to numb the area, we then remove the enamel to leave enough space for the supporting crowns to fit in the mouth. Once finished, we’ll take scans of the prepared teeth and send these 3D digital images to the dental lab. We’ll provide you with a temporary bridge in the meantime.
When your bridge has been crafted, you’ll return for the fitting. We use a strong dental cement to hold the bridge in place.
How do I look after my bridge?
You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.