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    A Short Overview of Dental Crowns and Bridges

    January 1, 2018


    Do you have problems with missing teeth? If you do, maybe you have thought about having them replaced using crowns or a bridge. Below is a short overview of both crowns and bridges and how they are different.

    Dental Crowns

    Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are put over teeth in order to cover those teeth and restore its size and shape and give it a better appearance.

    A crown, when it’s cemented in place, will fully encase the tooth’s whole visible portion that is laying above and at a patient’s gum line.

    Why Might Patients Need One or More Crowns?

    1. For protecting weak teeth from become broken or for holding together a tooth that has cracked.
    2. For restoring a tooth that is already broken or one that is been worn down severely.
    3. To support and cover a tooth that has a big filling if the patient doesn’t have much tooth left.
    4. For holding a bridge.
    5. For covering severely discolored or misshapen teeth
    6. For covering dental implants
    7. For making cosmetic modifications

    When it comes to children, crowns could be used on their baby teeth for:

    • Saving teeth that is been really damaged due to decay that filling isn’t an option.
    • Protecting a child’s teeth that is high risk for decay, particularly children who don’t brush and floss daily.
    • Decreasing general anesthesia frequency in children due to medical history, age and behavior for fully cooperating with dental care.

    In these cases, pediatric dentists often recommend stainless steel crowns.

    What Crown Types are Available?

    It’s possible to make permanent crowns out of all metal, like gold, porcelain that is fused onto metal, stainless steel, all ceramic or all resin.

    • Stainless steel – These are crowns that are prefabricated, and they’re used on the permanent teeth usually as a temporary solution. It will protect the filling or crown while the permanent crown is being made from something else. In children these types of crowns are used for fitting over primary teeth that has been prepared for fitting it. The crown will cover the whole tooth and it will be protected from any further decay. Once the primary teeth come out then the crown will naturally come out too. They’re generally used for teeth in children since they won’t require a lot of visits to the dentist for fitting and they’re less expensive when compared with crowns that are custom-made.
    • Metals – The types of metal that are used for crowns are things like alloys with a lot of platinum or gold in them, or alloys that are base-metal, such as nickel-chromium or cobalt-chromium. These types of crowns can withstand chewing and biting forces very well and usually will last the lengthiest amount of time when it comes to wearing down. In addition, the metal crowns usually don’t break or chip. The biggest drawback is their metallic color. They’re great for molars that you can’t see.
    • Porcelain Fused Onto Metal – These dental crowns are able to be matched to those teeth that are close to them. But there is going to be additional wearing to your adjacent teeth when you use this type of crown with compared to resin or metal crowns. The porcelain portion of the crown is able to break or chip off. Besides the crowns made of ceramic, these types of crowns look the most like natural teeth. But there are times that the metal beneath the porcelain of the crown often shows through and appears to be a line that is dark, particularly at the gum and this happens when your gum recede. These types of crowns are a great choice for back or front teeth along with long bridges in which the metal is needed to make them strong.
    • All-resin – These types of dental crowns are a lot less expensive when compared with other kinds of crowns. But they also wear down as time passes and they fracture a lot more often when compared with the porcelain crowns that are fused to metal.
    • All-Porcelain or All-Ceramic – These dental crowns give you a better match when it comes to matching your natural teeth when compared with other types of crowns and they can also be suitable for those who have metal allergies. The crowns made of ceramic are able to be used for back and front teeth.
    • Permanent vs Temporary – Your dentist office can make temporary crowns but the majority of permanent crowns have to be made inside dental laboratories. For the most part, the temporary crowns are made from stain-less steel or material that is acrylic based and they’re often used for temporary restoration while waiting for the permanent crown to be ready.

    Dental Bridges

    A bridge is created for replacing teeth that are missing. It’s made of at least two crowns for those teeth on each side of a gap. These anchoring teeth are known as abutment teeth and there is a false tooth or teeth that are in between. The false teeth are known as pontics, and they’re made of porcelain, alloy, gold or even a combination. A dental bridge is supported by implants or natural teeth.

    What are Dental Bridges’ Benefits?

    Bridges are able to:

    • Distribute your bite forces properly because they replace missing teeth
    • Prevent your remaining teeth from going out of their position
    • Maintain your face’s shape
    • Restore your confidence and smile
    • Restore your ability to speak and chew properly.

    What are The Dental Bride Types Available?

    You can choose from three main dental bridge types:

    • Traditional bridges – These bridges involve making a crown for an implant or tooth on the missing tooth’s either side, and there is a pontic between them. These are bridges that most people have and they are either made of ceramic or porcelain that is fused onto metal.
    • Cantilever bridges – These types of bridges are only used when there is an adjacent tooth only on one side of your missing teeth. This isn’t very common anymore and it’s not recommended if it’s going into your mouth’s back. The reason is because it can put a lot of force on your other teeth so that they are damaged.
    • Maryland Bridge – These are also known as resin-bonded bridges and they’re made from porcelain that is fused to metal, porcelain, or plastic gums and teeth that are supported by a framework made of porcelain or metal. Porcelain or metal wings many times on just one of the bridge’s sides will get bonded to existing teeth.

    Based on your needs you can choose from crowns or a bridge. Both of these dental options can help you look and feel better about yourself. Speak with your dentist and see which is best for you.

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