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What are crowns and bridges?

Unlike removable prostheses, which can be removed and cleaned daily, crowns and fixed bridges are cemented over existing teeth or implants, and only a dentist can remove them.


How do crowns work?


A crown is used to completely cover a destroyed tooth. In addition, it can be used to improve the appearance, shape or alignment of the tooth. A crown can also be placed on an implant to achieve the shape and functional structure of a tooth. It is possible to match the color of porcelain or ceramic crowns with that of their natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal, acrylic and ceramic alloys. These alloys are usually stronger than porcelain, and are recommended for posterior teeth. Sometimes, porcelain cemented to the outer face of a metal crown is often used, thus offering a strong and aesthetically pleasing restoration.


The dentist will recommend a crown for:


Replace large seals, when there is not enough tooth left

Prevent a weakened tooth from fracturing

Repair a fractured tooth

Place a bridge

Cover a dental implant

Cover a discolored or deformed tooth

Cover a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment

How do bridges work?


If one or more teeth are missing, the dentist will recommend a bridge. The free spaces between the missing teeth cause, over time, the remaining teeth to rotate or move towards the empty spaces which causes an inappropriate bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also cause gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).


Bridges are often used to replace one or more missing teeth, and take up the space left by them. The dentist cements the bridges to natural teeth or to the implants that surround the empty space. These teeth, called pillars, serve to anchor the bridge. Then, attach a replacement tooth (in the missing space), this tooth is called pontic, and it joins the crowns that cover the abutment teeth. As with crowns, there are several materials for bridges. The dentist can help you decide which one to use, depending on the location of the missing tooth or teeth, its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. The color of porcelain or ceramic bridges is matched to that of their natural teeth.


How are crowns and bridges made?


Before making a crown or a bridge, the dentist must reduce the size of the tooth or teeth so that the crown or bridge fits properly over it. Next, the dentist will take a dental impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If you are going to use porcelain, the dentist will determine the correct dye so that the color of the crown or bridge matches that of your teeth.


Using this impression, a dental laboratory makes its crown or bridge of the material specified by the dentist. While performing the crown or permanent bridge, a crown or temporary bridge will be placed to cover the prepared tooth. When the crown or permanent bridge is ready, it will remove the crown or temporary bridge and cement the new one to the prepared tooth.


How long do crowns and bridges last?


While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they sometimes loosen or come out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. If the teeth or bone that support a bridge are damaged by a dental disease, the bridge will lose support. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, using the dental child and mouthwash daily. Also consult the dentist and hygienist periodically for professional checks or checks and cleanings.


To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard food, ice or other hard objects.

Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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