Modern dentistry has no shortage of amazing prosthetics that can fix even the worst of physical dental maladies. Among these tools are Dental Crowns and Bridges – fixed dental prosthetics that attach directly to the teeth. Unlike removable prosthetics like dentures, crowns and bridges are permanently affixed to the teeth and serve different roles in repairing cosmetic damage to the surface and inner structure.
What Do Dental Crowns Do?
Dental crowns are designed to look like replicas of your regular, healthy tooth. They are hollow, and fitted over a damaged tooth like a sort of “cap.” In addition to strengthening and protecting the damaged tooth, dental crowns also carry cosmetic benefits.
They can make diseased or misshapen teeth look healthy, proportional and well aligned. In addition to being placed on a damaged tooth, crowns can also be emplaced over tooth implants to provide stronger, functional structure and better replication of a natural tooth.
They are often colored to match your natural tooth color and are usually made from tough materials like porcelain, ceramic, or even metal alloys.
What Do Dental Bridges Do?
Dental bridges take the idea of crowns one step further by creating a fake network of missing teeth to cap multiple gaps in the mouth. Missing multiple teeth can be particularly problematic as compared to missing a single tooth.
Aside from missing more teeth, having multiple gaps leaves room for other teeth to begin twisting and shifting, thereby ruining your bite and opening you up to a greater risk of periodontal disease. A bridge is cemented to healthy teeth in the area and is usually formed from the same materials that make up crowns.
How Long Do Crowns and Bridges Last?
Crowns and bridges are made with the intention that they will last you a lifetime. However, things don’t always go according to plan, and it is not unheard of for bridges and crowns to come loose and fall out from time to time.
Like real teeth, your oral hygiene practice will play a pivotal role in deciding how long your crown or bridge lasts. Poor oral hygiene makes it far likelier for them to fall out, as the tooth materials they are attached to will continue to decay and lose their hold. Generally, a temporary crown or bridge is provided while a permanent one is being created from a mold of your teeth. Obviously, these temporary fittings are much more prone to falling out, as they are not cemented in like permanent crowns and bridges are.
How Are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Making bridges and crowns actually begin with physical changes to the teeth you already have. They must be filed down to a smaller size in order to accommodate the fittings, and a mold must be taken of them to ensure a perfect fit. Once the mold is taken, a temporary covering is fitted to protect your tooth while the permanent crown or mold is formed. Once they finish making the permanent crown or bridge, the temporary covering is removed and your permanent one is cemented to your teeth.