A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a
prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A
crown is sometimes known as a 'cap'.
Crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been
weakened by decay or a very large filling. A crown could be used for a number of
other reasons, for instance:
• you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth or multiple crowns can be used to enhabce the alignment of your teeth.
• you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect what is left of the tooth.
• it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are
continually being introduced. Some of the most popular options are listed below.
Metal Ceramic Crowns: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it. Although this is a better looking alternative to a gold crown, your dentist may still advise a gold crown depending on the situation.
All-ceramic crowns: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in most areas of the mouth.
Gold alloy crowns:
gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it a very hardwearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in colour. In some situation this is still the best material to use.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
In some situations where the bite is ideal, a maryland bridge (this is also called an adhesive or sticky bridge) can be used by bonding the pontic onto the adjacent teeth via a thin metal wing using a stong dental adhesive.
Your dentist will advise you on the most appropriate bridge for you