Crowns and Bridges
A crown is also sometimes referred to as a cap. It is an artificial replacement for that part of the tooth that is above the gum line.
Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth's function and appearance following a root canal procedure, extensive decay, defective fillings, cracked or/ and broken teeth. Broken teeth or fillings allow mouth fluids and bacteria into a tooth which can lead to possible nerve damage.
A crown replaces damaged parts of a tooth and adds to its life span.
Crowns can be made from metal, gold alloys, metal and porcelain fused together or entirely from porcelain. Typically, crowns are made in a dental laboratory.
If you have a missing tooth, it may be replaced using a bridge. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth are crowned, with a fake tooth (or teeth) attached in between. The bridge stays in place. It does not come in and out like a removable partial denture.
Bridges look very natural and restore the original contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.
Dental bridges are made in the dental laboratories from the same types of materials as crowns.
Caring For Your Crowns and Bridges
With proper oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings, a crown and/or bridge could last up to five years or more.
Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding), biting on pens and pencils, wearing of tongue jewelry, etc., significantly shorten the life of the crowns and bridges. Moreover, eating hard foods (certain nuts, ice, popcorn, hard candy, etc.,) can greatly compromise the adhesion, damage and even break crowns. Ask your dentist about the protective appliances that are available to prevent these adverse events.