Sometimes a tooth becomes so severely damaged due to decay, cracked teeth or trauma that the area is too large to restore with a traditional filling. Such cases may call for a dental crown. One option to replacing missing teeth when teeth exist on either side of the space is a bridge.
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.
You have a choice of materials for bridges and your dentist shall help decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth, its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
Other type of conventional crown and bridge is a so-called Maryland bridge which consists of a metal framework with a porcelain tooth baked on to the front of the framework. The framework then ends up as a false tooth with two metal wings on the side. These metal wings are prepared to have a porous surface so that they can receive a bonding agent, and then the wings are bonded to the back sides of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The picture on the right shows how this looks.
However there are two main esthetic problems with a Maryland bridge:
- The metal backing that is bonded onto the back side of the front teeth will cause those teeth to darken slightly, and they will no longer match the color of the other front teeth.
- Tthe false tooth is a porcelain fused to metal tooth, and it lacks the natural translucency and vitality of your other teeth.
Prior to either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth must be trimmed and reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly, and more importantly restores function. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your neighboring existing teeth.
As new technology and materials science has evolved, computers are increasingly becoming a part of crown and bridge fabrication, such as in CAD/CAM dentistry to display a 3-D picture of the teeth. A restoration is then created through milling of a ceramic block.
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important measure you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing your teeth and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning.
To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.
Call us for dental appointment to individually tailored your unique oral health needs.