Crowns and Bridges
A crown is a ceramic or gold artificial (false) tooth that covers a damaged tooth, restoring its original function and perhaps even improving its appearance. Crowns are often used to replace large fillings when too little of the original tooth remains. They are also used to cover a tooth that has had a root canal or to restore a fractured tooth. When ceramic is used, the coloring of the crown can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
While a crown is used to replace a single tooth, bridges are used to replace multiple missing teeth, filling gaps between existing teeth. Gaps between teeth, when left untreated, can cause undesireable movement among the remaining teeth and lead to bite problems, gum disease, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Just like crowns, bridges can be made from ceramic materials or gold; which material is best depends on several factors that your dentist will discuss with you. Ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
A bridge is cemented to natural teeth (or implants) on either side of the gap. These teeth are called abutments and serve to anchor the bridge.
Making Crowns and Bridges
The first step in making a crown or a bridge is to prepare the teeth that the crown or bridge will fit over by reducing their size. Next, your dentist will create an impression that will become a mold for the crown or bridge. Afterwards, your dentist will create a temporary crown or bridge to cover the prepared teeth while a dental lab makes your crown or bridge.
When the new crown or bridge is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary crown or bridge and cement the new one in place over your prepared teeth.