What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are a very common and popular solution to damaged or unsightly teeth. They take the form of a tooth-shaped ‘hat’ that sits over the problem tooth, encasing it entirely right down to the gum line. Crowns are an ideal way to restore the strength, shape, size and overall appearance of any damaged teeth.
What are dental crowns made of?
Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain fused to metal and 100% porcelain/ceramic. This means that there is usually at least one type of crown that is suitable for every patient.
Why has my dentist recommended a crown?
Crowns are usually only given to adult patients. Your dentist may recommend a crown as the best course of action if:
- You have a broken or severely worn down tooth.
- You have a cracked tooth that needs to be held together.
- If you have a severely weak tooth that is at risk of breaking.
- If you are also having a dental bridge, as crowns can help hold them in place.
- If you have a tooth that requires a larger filling than is possible (usually due to broken/eroded parts of the tooth).
- To cover a dental implant.
- If you have a discolored tooth.
- If your tooth is severely misshapen.
Occasionally a dentist may recommend a crown for infant/first teeth. This is usually because:
- The child has a first tooth that is decayed beyond the treatment of a
normal filling and a crown is the best option to protect it.
- The child is, for whatever reason, unable to complete or withstand proper oral care techniques, putting them at a much higher risk of tooth decay and its associated problems.
What are the benefits of dental crowns?
Dental crowns are an effective way of restoring damaged teeth so that you can continue to use your mouth, jaw and teeth as you would normally. A dental crown can support and restore strength to a tooth that has:
- been badly damaged by dental decay
- requires support after root canal treatment
- is severely worn down, possibly as a result of grinding
- is cracked and broken
- requires a dental bridge
The cosmetic benefits offered by dental crowns are another key reason why they
are a popular choice of treatment. Crowns can improve the appearance of the
- hiding discolored or stained teeth
- adding height or width to teeth that are misshapen or undersized
- covering a dental implant
Dental crowns have also shown to last longer than any other type of dental
restoration including implants and fillings.
Are there any negatives to dental crowns?
While thousands of dental crown procedures are performed across the country on a daily basis, there are still a few considerations that you should take into account before opting for this type of treatment:
- The main disadvantage of crowns is that they require a significant amount of preparation before they can be fitted. This is because the damaged tooth needs to be filed down to such a size where the crown can fit comfortably over the top, and so you can expect your tooth to be filed in both height and width. This usually means that you will need to make several visits to your dentists’ office. It also means that in some cases where the original tooth is very badly damaged or has inadequate access, a dental crown may not be able to be fitted.
- There is a slight risk of nerve damage associated with dental crowns and approximately 1-15% of patients will require root canal treatment.
- There is also a small risk of infection. If the affected tooth is not thoroughly cleaned out and sealed an infection is more likely to develop. There is also a slight risk of an allergic reaction. A small number of patients may experience a reaction to the materials used to create the crown.
How long can I expect my crown to last?
The life of your crown will vary depending on a number of factors including the amount of wear and tear the tooth is exposed to, and how well you look after your crown and surrounding teeth. However, you can typically expect your new crown to last between 5 and 15 years.
Will my dental crown be covered by my insurance?
In the majority of cases, crowns are required for functional reasons and as such, are usually covered by most dental insurers, although coverage may be limited to a particular type of crown, for example, metal. However, we strongly recommend that you speak to your personal insurer about your individual policy to check that you are covered before you start your procedure.
Dental Bridges FAQ
There are many different treatments available for badly damaged or decayed teeth, but unfortunately sometimes a tooth is beyond repair, leaving an unsightly gap in your smile. Gaps between your teeth can seriously knock your confidence, and can even have a negative impact on the functionality of your other teeth and the overall use of your mouth. This is due to the fact that after time, your remaining teeth can take advantage of the space to shift around slightly, causing misalignment and a range of other associated dental problems. Dental bridges fill the gap where the missing tooth would have been. They do this using a false tooth, which looks and feels just like the real thing. The false tooth also holds the remaining teeth either side in place so that they don’t shift into the space.
How to dental bridges work?
Dental bridges are comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap. These act as anchors for the false tooth/teeth that will fill the gap. Once your dental bridge is in place, it should be virtually imperceptible. The anchored teeth are often referred to as abutment teeth and the false teeth are often called pontics.
What are the false teeth made from? Will they look odd?
The pontics can be made from a number of different materials including metal alloys, gold or porcelain, depending on what cosmetic finish you want to
achieve. If you choose porcelain, they can be color-matched to your existing teeth so that they look completely natural.
What are the benefits of dental bridges?
There are a number of benefits of having dental bridge. They can: - Prevent your remaining teeth from shifting position. - Help you bite and/or chew properly.
- Correct your bite.
- Properly align your jaw.
- Maintain the shape of your face.
- Give you a great smile.
Types of dental bridge
There are three main varieties of dental bridge, and the type your dentist recommends will vary depending on where in your mouth the missing teeth are
A traditional bridge is the most commonly recommended treatment for missing teeth. It involves creating crowns to go on the teeth either side of the gap which act as anchors for the pontic which sits in-between them. Traditional bridges are usually made from porcelain that has been fused to ceramic or metal.
Resin bonded bridges
Also sometimes referred to as a Maryland bonded bridge, this type of bridge can be created in a variety of material including porcelain fused to metal, complete porcelain or sometimes plastic teeth and gums that are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. The wings found on each side of the bridge, usually made from metal or porcelain, are securely bonded to your natural teeth.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are only existing teeth that can be used as anchors on one side of the gap. In the past there have been problems with cantilever bridges being used in the back of the mouth as they were found to exert too much pressure on the anchor tooth, causing damage and even breakages.
What happens during the procedure to get a dental bridge?
A dental bridge will require at least two visits to your dentist.
During the first visit your dentist will carry out a thorough examination of your teeth. After giving you a local anesthetic, he/she will prepare the abutment teeth by filing away some of the enamel in order to make your tooth small enough for the crown to sit over it, hiding it completely. Then your dentist will take impressions of your teeth which will be used as a guide for the dental lab that will be making your crowns, pontic and bridge, so that it is a perfect fit. Finally, the abutment teeth and gap will be covered with a temporary bridge to protect them while the final bridge is being created. When your bridge is ready you will be invited back in to see the dentist who will remove your temporary cover and fit your final bridge. This may require multiple visits in order to ensure that the cover and fit is absolutely perfect. If your bridge is to eventually be cemented in place permanently, your dentist will probably suggest a ‘trial run’. This is where they are implanted with a temporary adhesive to check that they are completely comfortable before securing them in place with a permanent cement.
Looking after your dental bridge
With proper care and attention, your dental bridge could last as long as twenty years. You should continue with a thorough oral hygiene routine including
brushing, flossing and mouthwash, and try to avoid particularly chewy foods or cuts of meat as these will put additional strain on your bridge.
How much can I expect a dental bridge to cost?
The cost of dental bridges varies depending on the number of pontics and false teeth that are required. The more you need, the greater the cost will be. We recommend that you speak to your dentist for an accurate quotation for your dental bridge treatment. You may find that some or all of the cost will be covered by your dental insurance. However, you should check this with your insurer before booking your treatment.
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