Dental Crowns are synthetic caps that are placed over the tooth to restore its shape, shade, strength, and function.
Crowns are typically used for restorative purposes following a root canal treatment, implant procedure, or cracked tooth. Advanced stages of tooth decay due to dental caries (cavities) often lead to massive loss in tooth structure and also require crowning of the tooth. Dental crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes to restore discolored or stained teeth, with a more natural shade and appearance.
The crowns are made from materials such as zirconia, porcelain, gold alloys, or sometimes even a combination of such.
During a crowning procedure, the tooth structure is reduced to accommodate for the crown cap. An impression is molded to re-create the original form and shape of the tooth and sent to a specialized lab where the crown will be fabricated. A temporary crown is capped over the tooth while the permanent crown is made (usually taking about 2 weeks). Once the permanent crown is ready, it will be delivered and cemented permanently onto the patient’s tooth.
Bridges are cosmetic appliances that replace a section of missing tooth/teeth within the mouth. Bridges are made by crowning two teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth and filling that gap with fake teeth. These structures are connected together from once tooth to the other, hence the characteristic of a bridge.
While bridges have a cosmetic benefit, they also prevent future problems for the teeth surrounding a gap. When a tooth or teeth is missing, the surrounding and opposing teeth may shift or drift into the open areas of the gap, often affecting the bite and presenting long term problems. A dental bridge prevents this issue by providing a structure to support the surrounding localized areas.
Once a crown is permanently cemented, it restores the form and function of the original tooth. Under proper care and good dental hygiene, a quality crown can last many years before it has to be replaced.