Crowns and bridges are a permanent solution for treating teeth that are damaged, decayed or missing and require replacement. They can be an easy and highly effective way to restore your smile and improve the functionality of your teeth.
A crown is a ‘cap’ that fits over your tooth structure. The cap is tooth-shaped and will restore the shape, strength, size, and appearance of the tooth. There are many different materials that can be used to make a crown. For the best cosmetic result, porcelain is used the form the crown. It can be tinted and glazed to give a beautiful result. Sometimes a gold alloy is used for optimal strength but since this is not tooth coloured it is not suitable for teeth visible in the smile.
When you approach us for treatment, the dentists at Alphington Dental Care will assess your tooth to figure out the best way to restore it. We will need to do a detailed examination to assess the extent of the damage to the tooth. An x-ray may need to be taken to check if the root and the bone are healthy enough to support the crown.
Dental crowns may be recommended under the following circumstances.
- The tooth is weak from damage or decay and it needs a crown to hold it together.
- The tooth has worn down or has been broken.
- The tooth is decayed to such an extent that it needs a root canal to save it.
- The tooth is discoloured or misshapen and may be covered using a crown.
How are crowns prepared and fixed to the tooth?
After you give us the go ahead, we will begin the process of preparing your tooth for the crown. The whole process will usually take two visits to our dental clinic.
The first step is to numb the tooth and surrounding gum tissue with the help of a local anaesthetic. A part of the damaged tooth will then have to be removed to make space for the crown. An impression of the tooth is taken and sent to a dental laboratory so that an exact replica of your tooth can be created. We always use an Australian dental laboratory that uses high quality materials for construction of the crown. Our dentists will consult directly with technicians to achieve the best possible result. Other dental clinics may send their work to overseas laboratories which use cheaper and less durable materials. Construction of the crown can take 2-3 weeks, so in the meantime a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth.
During your second visit, the permanent crown will be cemented in place. We check the bite to ensure that the new crown feels comfortable and if necessary, adjustments can be made during this appointment.
What are bridges?
A dental bridge is a popular way to replace missing teeth. As the name suggests, it acts as a bridge spanning the toothless area between two teeth. Bridges are permanent fixtures and cannot be removed without the help of a dentist.
Porcelain fixed bridges are the most popular bridge option because they resemble your natural teeth. The bridge is held in place with the help of two crowns placed over the adjacent healthy teeth that act as anchors.
A dental bridge is very durable and can last many years with proper care. Bridges will restore speaking and chewing ability and help maintain your facial structure and shape.
The procedure to prepare and fix bridges is similar to the one for crowns. The anchor teeth are prepared to receive crowns and an impression is taken. The bridge is then prepared in the lab. A temporary bridge will be fabricated for you while you wait to receive the permanent bridge from the lab.
If you want to learn more about crowns or bridges you are welcome to give us a call. Our friendly staff will arrange an appointment with our dentists at a time that is convenient for you.