Crowns and Bridges

What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?

Unlike removable devices such as dentures, both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

How do Crowns Work?

A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. A crown can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance, shape or alignment in addition to strengthening a damaged tooth.  A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

Metal alloy Crowns are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.

Crown work may recommend for:

  • Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

How do Bridges Work?

Dental bridges maintain the spacing where an infected tooth was removed. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth is attached to the crowns that cover the adjoining teeth. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use.

How long do Crowns and Bridges Last?

The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene.  Although crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. Keeping your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing twice a day and flossing daily will help to extend the life of your smile. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.