Bridges and dental crowns are used to repair damaged teeth and restore a full, natural looking smile. Both options are sturdy and require a moderate amount of work during visits to your dentist.
Bridges are used to replace a section of missing teeth. Once installed, a bridge is barely noticeable and creates a natural looking contour and properly aligned bite. Bridges are sometimes called partial dentures because they are a semi-permanent solution and bonded to teeth or implants. Most bridges are fixed, but it is possible to have a removable bridge. There are several types of fixed bridges, including conventional fixed, resin-bonded, and cantilever.
Crowns are caps placed on top of a tooth. In most cases, crowns are used to restore the function and appearance of a damaged tooth following a root canal. Dental crowns are usually made from porcelain. In addition to restoring a severely damaged tooth, crowns are used to cover implants, attach bridges, and to prevent cracks in teeth from worsening or fillings from loosening or dislocating. Crowns can also be used to alter the appearance of a stained tooth.
The process of installing a crown has several parts. First, the affected tooth is reduced in size so the crown fits. Next, an impression is made of that tooth and a custom dental crown is created. Some patients receive a temporary crown while waiting for the permanent one to be constructed. Finally, the permanent crown is cemented onto the remaining stub of the tooth.
Dental crowns typically last up to a decade. Patients with crowns should carefully floss around the affected tooth and do whatever is necessary to prevent the buildup of plaque or debris. Speak with your dentist about various things that can shorten the life of your crown. For instance, if you grind your teeth or enjoy eating hard foods, he or she might recommend changes or tools that can help you protect your crown.
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