Crowns / Bridges
Crowns are used when a tooth is either badly broken down or is heavily restored with filling material. They are made in a variety of materials including metal alloys, ceramics, and in some circumstances zirconia.
The decision to provide a crown is made by the dentist when they feel a tooth requires protection from further damage. They will then ‘prepare’ the tooth by grinding it to the correct shape, make an impression of the prepared tooth, and then ask a dental technician to make the crown. It is then cemented over the prepared tooth using one of the dental adhesives available.
There are a wide variety of crowns available. Standard crowns are monotone and do not really look like teeth, however they do maintain and preserve the integrity of the tooth. More advanced crowns are made to be almost identical to the natural teeth either side of them. Due to advanced bonding techniques modern crowns have excellent physical and aesthetic properties. Ask your dentist about the different types available.
Bridges are similar to crowns in that the dentist will prepare a tooth and ask a technician to make a bridge. However, whereas a crown only protects the prepared tooth, a bridge is used to replace a missing adjacent tooth. Bridges must be planned properly and are not always a suitable option, their use is dependent on the size of the space, the condition of the remaining adjacent teeth and the way your teeth bite together. Another method of replacing teeth is by using dental implants.