Crowns and bridges

Restore and strengthen teeth

Even though each tooth has hard enamel on the outside they can be chipped, broken or weakened. This can occur from trauma due to an accident, decay, large fillings, previous root canal treatment and age-related wear and tear.

An artificial crown is often the best way to restore a tooth and strengthen it. A bridge is used to replace one or more missing teeth; it consists of an artificial tooth anchored to the adjacent natural teeth.

Crowns and bridges are made from metal alloy, a porcelain and metal alloy or just porcelain. The porcelain is used to match the colour of the natural teeth, is resistant to staining and can be cleaned if it is stained. Metal alloy is used for its strength and durability, his is useful when covering the molars which must withstand grinding and crushing forces. Metal alloy and porcelain are well tolerated in the mouth.

Bridges are used to replace missing teeth to improve appearance and speech, to distribute the chewing stresses that cause damage and to prevent the teeth near a gap from moving and maintain your natural bite.

You will require at least two appointments for preparation and fitting of a crown or bridge. On the first visit the area will be numbed so the tooth can be prepared using a drill, making it smaller by a few millimetres. An impression is then taken of the upper and lower teeth to make a record of their appearance and how they fit together when your jaws are closed (known as “occlusion”).

The impression is sent to a dental technician who makes the crown or bridges as instructed by the dentist. To protect the prepared tooth a temporary crown is placed over it with temporary cement. Until the permanent crown is placed care is needed to protect the prepared tooth when chewing and eating.

At the second appointment the new crown or bridge is place over the prepared tooth to check that it will fit and feels comfortable. After any required adjustment is complete the crown/bridge will be glued onto the tooth with dental cement. With proper dental hygiene and care your crowns and bridge should last for many years.

Possible complications of treatment are breakage of the tooth during preparation, infection of the pulp or gums, pain or discomfort, altered feeling, the crown or bridge may be dislodged by a strong force and need to be re-cemented, a very small risk of allergic reactions.