CROWNS AND BRIDGES - FAQS

What is a crown?

A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a 'cap'.

Why would I need a crown?

Crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. A crown could be used for a number of other reasons, for instance:

  • you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
  • you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect what is left of the tooth.

What are crown made of?

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are continually being introduced. Some of the most popular options are listed below: Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.

Porcelain crowns: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns, but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.

All-ceramic crowns: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.

Acrylic: these crowns are made of plastic like acrylic material. They are not of very good strength and discolour after some years. Therefore they are recommended only for front teeth.

How is a crown prepared?

The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The impressions will then be given to the dental technician, along with an appropriate shade and other information needed for the crown to be made.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth,thereby "bridging" the space between two teeth.Unlike removable partial dentures,bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient. A bridge is made of same materials as that of crowns and the method of preparing and cementing is just the same as that of crown.