Modern dentistry has advanced immeasurably in recent years, with new techniques emerging to treat common dental problems. Two of the most common and enduring dental treatments are bridges and crowns. Here is what you need to know about these popular dental treatments.
What Are Bridges and Crowns?
Both crowns and bridges are primarily fixed prosthetic devices, perfect for treating damaged, misaligned or missing teeth. Unlike dentures, which can be removed for cleaning, crowns and bridges are anchored in place and can only be extracted with the help of a dentist.
A crown (or ‘cap’) can be crafted from a variety of materials depending on your budget. They cover the section of your tooth on and above the gum and are used in instances of damaged, cracked or chipped teeth.
A bridge can be treated as a row of crowns, covering up a section of missing teeth and restoring a full smile. They can also restore functions like chewing.
Features and Application
Porcelain and ceramic crowns are matched in colour and texture to your original teeth, providing the most natural finish possible. Other materials such as metallic alloys are also available. They’re stronger and mostly recommended for back teeth, which experience greater levels of pressure.
After the crown is synthesised in a laboratory, it can be installed at your dentist. The tooth and the surrounding gum area are anaesthetised before trimming away enough of the tooth so the crown can be fixed securely and comfortably on top.
Bridges are used to replace multiple missing teeth and are usually created from porcelain fused onto a metal base. They provide maximum strength while maintaining an authentic look. Bridges are rigidly cemented between two anchoring crowns, which are fused over teeth that have been pre-shaped to accommodate the bridge.
Crowns and Bridges as a Treatment Option
Crowns are suitable for treating teeth that have experienced severe discolouring, cracks and chips, or weakness from decay. They also act as anchors for dental bridges, which are used to replace rows of missing teeth. Bridges are especially useful for when dentures are uncomfortable, unstable or aesthetically unpleasing.
Pros and Cons of Crowns and Bridges
Both crowns and bridges have their merits and drawbacks. Not only do crowns offer substantial protection to a broken down tooth, but they also look great and offer a real boost in confidence!
However, their insertion involves destroying parts of your natural teeth, including a risk of nerve damage and subsequent root canal treatment. The whole process can also be costly and require multiple appointments.
Bridges are a relatively simple, quick and affordable procedure in comparison to more invasive options like dental implants. They can also restore deficits in some oral functions like eating and speaking.
However, bridges will require enamel to be taken from your teeth. Any crowns present on adjacent teeth will also need to be remade prior to treatment. Tooth decay can also be a potential issue.
Caring for Prosthetics and Expected Longevity
Just because crowns and bridges are synthetic, it doesn’t mean they don’t require appropriate care. After the initial treatment, your crown/bridge might be irritated, meaning you should use sensitive toothpaste. As a general rule, you should treat your crown or bridge in the same way as your natural teeth, while also avoiding hard foods and ice.
Brushing twice a day and flossing like you would with other teeth is advised, with bridges presenting the additional challenge of brushing underneath them. Good dental hygiene is vital in maximising the longevity of crowns and bridges, which can last roughly 5-15 and 5-10 years respectively.
For more information on dental crowns and bridges or to book a consultation, get in touch with our team at City Central Dental on 08 8231 9922 or contact us online.