Crowns are restorations that replace the entire visible structure of a severely damaged tooth. A bridge is a replacement tooth anchored by crowns or existing teeth on either side.
What is a crown?
Sometimes the surface of a tooth becomes too badly damaged to be fixed with a filling or other dental technique, but the root structure beneath the gums is still strong. In this case, our dentists at Neumann Family Dentistry can cement a crown or “cap” on the old tooth. This crown will completely cover what is left of the existing tooth, and will be sized and shaped just like the original healthy tooth. Crowns are made of different materials, and the circumstances of each patient will determine which material is best.
All Porcelain or All Ceramic Crowns
These crowns offer the advantage of a very natural appearance, and for this reason are often used for front teeth. Porcelain can be created to perfectly match your surrounding teeth, making the crowns almost indistinguishable. This type of crown does require considerable preparation, leaving less of the existing tooth, and it is often challenging for the dentist to get a fit as tight as with a gold crown. Their beautiful, life-like appearance continues to make them a popular choice.
This popular crown type provides an excellent combination of esthetics and durability. The porcelain is color matched to your existing teeth and fused to a metal base. With a metal center, this type of crown can never match the translucency of a natural tooth or an all porcelain crown, and a thin darker line can develop where it meets the gum. However porcelain-over-metal crowns look very natural and are exceptionally strong and durable.
When a tooth is missing, and not just damaged, crowns can be used as anchors on adjacent teeth, with a false tooth attached to “bridge” the gap.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a false tooth that is fused to one or two crowns. This false tooth, or pontic, is held in its position on the gum by the anchoring crowns next to it.
What kind of bridges are there?
- The traditional fixed bridge is a false tooth fused to two crowns. The crowns fit permanently on the teeth on both sides of the new false tooth, and anchor it in place as a “bridge” over the gum. This dental technique is otherwise similar to a regular crown procedure. The fixed bridge offers the most natural fit and appearance.
- The cantilever bridge is a false tooth that is anchored to a tooth or teeth on one side, and not the other. This dental technique is otherwise similar to a regular crown procedure. A cantilever bridge does not have the same strength as a traditional fixed bridge and can only be used in areas of less stress, like front teeth.
- The removable bridge is not cemented permanently. It may be available at a lower cost, but will require extra hygiene attention.
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