A quick guide to dental crowns, dental bridges and dental implants at Rockingham Dental Centre
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped ‘cap’ that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, and improve its appearance. The crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth
- To cover a dental implant
- To make a cosmetic modification
Crowns can be made for all metal (usually gold), porcelain fused to metal and all ceramic.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. The missing tooth (Pontic) is supported by crowns on one or more of the teeth adjacent to the gap. Bridges can also be supported by implants.
The purpose of a bridge is to maintain the shape of the face and mouth, to restore the ability to chew and speak properly, to distribute the forces in the bite properly by replacing missing teeth, and to prevent the remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
There are three main types of dental bridges – traditional bridges that involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between, cantilever bridges, where there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth, and resin-bonded bridges made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal, or plastic where the teeth and gums are supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
Dental implants are an option for tooth loss due to an accident or infection, or as an alternative to bridges and dentures. The implants are tooth root substitutes that are surgically anchored in place in the jawbone and act to stabilise the artificial teeth to which they are attached. Suitable candidates for dental implants need to have an adequate bone level and density, must not be prone to infection, and must be willing to maintain good oral hygiene practices.