A crown is an artificial tooth which fits over your real tooth like a thimble, they are also sometimes called caps. They are made to protect the tooth from breaking down following root canal treatment, or if a tooth is heavily filled, fractured or broken. Crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of teeth. Bridges are when a number of crowns are used to replace missing teeth.
Crowns are used to restore teeth that have been broken or are badly decayed.
A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth and a false tooth or teeth in between.
Crowns and bridges can be made of a number of different materials and your dentist will be able to advise you as to the best material dependent on the type of crown required and its placement within your mouth.
The crown or bridge is made in two stages.
First the tooth will be prepared under anaesthetic and impressions taken of both your upper and lower jaw. This ensures that the technician making the crown or bridge is able to adjust it correctly so it will sit within your bite. The dentist will also pick the shade for the crown or bridge so it most closely resembles the natural shade of your teeth.
The impressions are then sent to the laboratory, where the technician will build the crown or bridge. This normally take a couple of weeks so the dentist will put a temporary restoration on your tooth or teeth during this time.
At the second visit the temporary restoration will be removed and the new crown or bridge fitted.
If looked after correctly a crown or bridge should last for many years. The crown or bridge itself cannot decay but the tooth underneath it can. It is therefore very important to ensure that you clean around the crown or bridge as you do your other teeth and use interdental brushes to clean in between the crown or bridge and adjacent teeth.
It may be necessary for you to see the hygienist more regularly to ensure that the restorations are kept in good condition