Two of the options available for replacing missing teeth are dental crowns & bridgework. Teeth become damaged. It may be due to decay, a crack, or trauma that damages the tooth beyond repair with a filling. At that point, the entire tooth needs to be replaced.
What are Dental crowns & Bridgework?
A crown is a cap that completely covers the damaged tooth. It looks and acts like one of your natural teeth. The dentist creates a mold of your mouth and designs the crown to fit exactly into place. The crown can be cemented over the existing tooth or can be attached to a dental implant.
Crowns can be made of a number of materials. Ceramic and porcelain are the most common and give the best aesthetic results because of their close match with the natural color of the teeth. Metal crowns come in gold or silver. Stainless steel crowns are often used in the mouths of growing children.
The dentist may recommend a crown in a number of circumstances:
- The tooth has sustained extensive damage due to decay or trauma.
- The tooth is weak and likely to chip or break.
- The tooth is poorly shaped or discolored.
- The tooth has undergone a tooth canal and needs protection.
A dental bridge is another option for dealing with a missing or damaged tooth.
Bridgework literally bridges the gap where there are missing teeth. The remaining teeth on either side of the gap, called abutments, are trimmed and capped with a crown. Then, replacement teeth, called pontics, are cemented to those abutments.
There are differences between dental crowns & bridgework. Crowns are isolated to one tooth. The dentist may install crowns on adjacent teeth, but each is treated individually. With bridgework, the teeth adjacent to the missing ones are also involved. A crown can be used to cover a damaged tooth or used to replace a missing one. Bridgework is most often used to replace one or more missing teeth.
Dental crowns and bridges restore the ability to talk and chew properly, while maintaining the natural shape of the face. They distribute the force of chewing much like your natural teeth do. They prevent your natural teeth from shifting into the space where a tooth is missing.
Don’t let missing or damaged teeth make you feel self-conscious. Talk with a dentist to see what options you have for restoring your smile and keeping your mouth healthy. You may find that dental crowns & bridgework can give you the smile you always wanted.