Crowns are typically used to cover the exterior of a tooth and restore it to its proper shape, size and function. This is done when a tooth has broken, become weakened in some form or has large decay but is still salvageable. Because the crown is made from very durable materials, it is able to strengthen your existing tooth while improving the esthetic appearance. Done properly, a crown can easily last for 10 years (or longer if you have good oral hygiene) and is often indistinguishable in appearance from the surrounding teeth.
When one or more teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can drift out of position, which can lead to a change in the bite, the loss of additional teeth, decay and gum disease. The missing teeth can even alter the shape and contour of you face as the soft tissue now lacks the support provided prior to tooth loss.
When tooth loss occurs, your dentist may recommend the placement of a bridge. A bridge will replace the missing teeth with artificial ones and is anchored on both sides by crowns seated on healthy teeth or implants. A bridge will literally “bridge” the gap caused by the missing teeth, redistributing the pressure of your bite which preserves and restores the function of your mouth.
Common Questions About Crowns and Bridges
Crowns or bridge work can easily last 8-10 years. If you practice excellent oral hygiene, you can possibly extend the life of your crown or bridge for quite some time.
Yes, the placement of a crown or bridge permanently alters the state of the affected teeth. The enamel layer is removed from the outer surface of the tooth to create a stable surface for the crown or bridge to be cemented in place. This is done to create clearance area for the new crown to fit properly and also removes any decay that might be present.
Over time, most people experience gum recession which is most notable if there is a crown that is fused to metal. That metal margin is where the crown ends and the tooth root begins. This can be fixed by manufacturing a new crown that is longer and, depending on the circumstances, without metal.
No, there are different ways to make crowns and bridges and not all of them require the use of metal for strength. Depending on your case, you dentist will evaluate what treatment will best suit your needs and will discuss the many different options.