What Are Dental Crowns And Tooth Bridges?

Both dental crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist. How Do Crowns Work? When it comes to completely covering or “capping” a damaged […]

Both dental crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

How Do Crowns Work?

When it comes to completely covering or “capping” a damaged tooth, dentists turn to crowns. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape, or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for efficiency. Ceramic or porcelain crowns can be coordinated with the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic, and ceramic. These alloys 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 visually appealing.

Your dentist may recommend a crown to:

• Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough remaining tooth
• 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?

A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. 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 also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

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 connected to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist like those from Be Well Dental 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.

Dental crowns and bridges are made to last. With proper care, you can enjoy the restorative benefits of your dental crowns and bridges for a lifetime. However, if not treated properly, they can become loose or fall out completely. The following tips can help you care for your restorative dental work and prevent complications that can cause them to fail:

• Brush your teeth after every meal to prevent plaque and calcium buildup that breeds bacteria.
• Floss around your teeth, crowns, and bridges daily. Although cleaning around dental bridges can be difficult, it’s important to clean between the teeth that anchor the bridge. To make this task easier, look for specialized floss tools or an oral water irrigator. Water-based flossing aides can easily clean under and around the bridge work, as well as between teeth and gums.
• Sonic toothbrushes are another good idea to help easily remove and break down plaque between teeth, as well as under and around the gum line.
• Utilize antibacterial mouthwash to further attack damaging bacteria.
• Refrain from eating sticky or hard foods. Chewing gum, ice, and hard candies can do irreversible damage to your bridgework.
• Maintain a regular schedule of dental checkups and professional cleanings.
• Follow a balanced, nutritious diet to help your teeth and gums stay healthy and able to support your dental crowns and bridges.