Have you been recommended a crown or bridge? If so, it is worth reading up about these two dental treatments. In this blog, I cover the basics and the facts. Crowns and bridges: what they are, what they are used for, the preparation involved, how to look after them and any possible complications. Like any other treatment, you will want to know what product is being placed in your body. Read on to find out more and if you need any further information, please contact me at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

What is a crown?

A crown is a tooth-shaped helmet that is glued over a tooth. It is used to help save and strengthen a broken-down tooth.

What is a bridge?

A bridge replaces the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap.

What are crowns and bridges used for?

  • Improve your appearance. Missing teeth can impact on your appearance and you may feel self-conscious when smiling. Crowns may also  be a better aesthetic option to composite fillings as they do not stain.
  • Speech problems can occur from having missing or broken teeth. For example, a lisp may develop.
  • Prevent stresses causing damage to other teeth. When you lose a tooth, more pressure is placed on the remaining teeth. This can result in chipping, cracking and wear of these teeth.
  • Prevent surrounding teeth from moving. Loss of tooth structure can create room for other teeth to start moving to fill these new gaps. Tilting, drifting and supra-eruption of teeth can all occur.
  • Maintains a natural bite and chewing power. Loss of teeth can change the way you bite and chew. Many people start to chew on the opposing side so as to avoid discomfort or food trapping. But by doing so, you place a great deal of pressure on one side and overuse the chewing muscles on that side.
  • Strengthen existing tooth structure. Crowns and bridges are made of porcelain and metal alloy. As such, their physical properties including their hardness and durability are extremely good. Moreover, they are biocompatible and are tolerated well in the mouth.

Preparation for crown

  • Upper and lower teeth shape will be recorded. This is done using a putty-like material in trays. Your dentist may refer to this as “taking impressions”
  • You will be numbed up with a local anesthetic. This is to ensure you do not experience any discomfort while the tooth is reshaped using a drill. The tooth will only be shaved back by a few millimeters, possibly less.
  • Another impression is taken of the newly prepped tooth.
  • A temporary crown is created in order to protect the tooth while the crown is being made. This temporary crown is also useful if any gum modification is required. It allows the gum to heal around the temporary crown before placing the final crown. Remember, temporary crowns are not as strong as permanent crowns. It is best to avoid sticky and hard foods and to chew on the opposite side of your mouth temporarily.
  • When the crown is ready to cement in the mouth, the temporary crown is removed. The new crown is fitted and the appearance is checked with you. Then, it is glued directly to the tooth.
  • Adjustments can be made if needed and floss is used to check the contact of the crowned tooth with the teeth next door.


Preparation for bridges

  • Preparation steps for bridges are very similar to crowns. The main difference is that both teeth on either side of the gap are reshaped into crowns.
  • These teeth act as anchors for the replacement tooth which is filling the gap. When the bridge arrives, it is cemented as a single unit. Superfloss is used to floss under the bridge and ensure no excess cement is left behind.

Hygiene and care

  • With excellent care and hygiene, crowns and bridges can last a long time. Most important to the longevity of these treatments is regular flossing. This is because the gum around crowns and bridges must stay healthy in order to support these new surfaces in your mouth.
  • Regular dental checkups are great for maintaining oral hygiene and so your dentist can show you any areas that require improvement.
  • Superfloss is excellent for cleaning under bridges. Piksters and floss holders are great around crowns. Stay tuned as more products become available.


Possible complications

  • Tooth may rarely break during preparation. This is especially the case if an existing crown is being removed from the tooth first. The less tooth structure available, the higher the risk. Your dentist will advise you of how likely this risk applies to your tooth.
  • Infection of the pulp or gums may occur. In heavily broken down teeth, the nerve is very close to becoming exposed and therefore infected. Your dentist will advise you if you should undertake root canal treatment to avoid this complication. Gum infection can be prevented with ongoing oral hygiene.

I hope you have found this blog helpful.

As always, if you need a consultation, please give Riverstone Family Dental a call on 8678 3538.

Have a great week!