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What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

How do Crowns Work?
A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.

How do Bridges Work?
A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.

How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.

 

Related Dental Crown Articles

Crowns and Bridgework - Dear Doctor MagazineCrowns & Bridgework
Replacing missing teeth — even the ones in back — is important to help restore chewing ability as well as preserve facial contours and reestablish a pleasing smile. Most crowns are made of tooth-colored ceramic materials, which are shaped to look and function just like normal healthy teeth. Crowns and bridgework may sometimes be the best tooth-replacement option, especially when dental implants aren't an option... Read Article

 

Crowns and Veneers - Dear Doctor MagazinePorcelain Crowns & Veneers
Dear Doctor magazine examines two innovative strategies for improving your smile. In many instances, these two restorative techniques can produce nearly identical aesthetic results, even though they are designed differently for handling different structural problems... Read Article

 

Crowns - Dear Doctor MagazineValue Of Quality Care
Are all crowns created equal? One of the most important factors adding to cost is the quality of the crown itself. Another fact is that dentists generally sub-contract out crown manufacturing to a dental laboratory technician, as they rarely make crowns themselves... Read Article

 

CAD CAM - Dear Doctor MagazineCreating In-Office Dental Restorations With Computers
Once upon a time, dentists — and patients — needed to wait weeks for a dental laboratory to make crowns and other dental restorations. Now, with an exciting digital technology known as Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM), some dentists are fabricating high-quality restorations themselves right in their own offices — in minutes! Read Article