Bridges can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. They cover the gaps where the missing teeth are. The bridge is cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These adjacent teeth act as anchors for the bridge.
A crown is placed on these teeth and a replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crown to fill the gap. Just as with crowns, you can choose the material for your bridge. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth.
A crown is a cap or cover for a tooth that brings it back to its normal shape and size. Crowns strengthen and improve the tooth and its appearance. Your dentist will recommend a crown if you have a tooth that is generally too damaged and fillings won’t solve the problem. For cracked teeth, a crown will hold the tooth together and seal any cracks, preventing further damage occurring.
Crowns can also be used to restore a tooth when there is too little of the tooth remaining to hold a large filling or attach a bridge. Also, they may be used for cosmetic purposes, to cover badly shaped or discoloured teeth.
The problem tooth will require reducing down so the crown can fit over it. Then your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and gums. This is to enable a lab to make the crown exactly to suit your tooth. You will receive a temporary crown, to protect the tooth until the permanent crown is ready. At your next appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent crown onto the tooth.
The aim is to have your new crown look exactly the same as your natural tooth. This is the reason for the impression. It allows the dentist to craft the look of your smile, he will consider the colour, bite, shape and length of your natural teeth. You can let your dentist know what look you want for your crown. Your teeth will be more attractive and stronger after the procedure.
A crown will need the dentist to remove more of the tooth than a veneer, so they cover more of the tooth than veneers. Crowns are usually used for teeth that have sustained significant loss of structure or to replace missing teeth. Crowns can be placed on natural teeth or dental implants.
Just like natural teeth, it depends upon your dental hygiene and how well you take care of them. They should last five to eight years, but with good care and maintenance, most crowns will last for much longer. Things that can shorten the life of a crown include grinding your teeth, chewing ice and fingernail biting.