Crowns are durable coverings that surround the entire visible portion of the tooth, providing extra strength and stability to the tooth as well as hiding any cosmetic defects. Crowns have many applications in dentistry, including hiding large, dark fillings, protecting teeth that are cracked or fractures, adding durability to teeth that have had a root canal procedure and protecting teeth that support a dental bridge. They can also be used to hide deep discoloration that can’t be treated with teeth whitening procedures.
A dental bridge is a device that’s used to replace one or more missing teeth. It’s called a bridge because it spans the gap left by a missing tooth, securing to the teeth on either side of the gap. The bridge supports one or more artificial teeth or crowns that are tinted and shaped to look just like natural teeth. Bridges are often preferred over dentures because they’re very secure, staying in place with strong, permanent adhesives or attaching with small clips.
Crowns and bridges begin with an impression of the treatment area. The impression is sent to the lab where the restoration will be custom made. Next, the tooth or teeth are prepared for the crown. A small portion of the tooth surface material must be removed to make room for the crown’s thickness and to prevent crowding once the crown is applied. Once the material is removed, a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth to protect it while the permanent crown is being made. At the second appointment, the temporary crown will be removed and the new crown will be placed on the tooth using a permanent adhesive. If a bridge is being applied, it’s fitted next. Crowns and bridges can be gently buffed once in place to ensure the most comfortable fit.
Crowns and bridges are very durable and long-lasting, and they can stay in great shape for a decade or much longer as long as they’re properly cared for with regular brushing and flossing and routine trips to the dentist.