Each of your teeth depends on the others to help you eat and speak. So, when one or more is damaged or missing, the health of the others may be threatened. It may become hard for you to chew or the appearance of your smile may change. If you are having problems with one or more of your teeth, your dentist can help you decide if a crown, fixed bridge or a partial denture can help restore your teeth to their normal function.
Several problems can occur when your teeth are damaged or missing. Cracked or broken teeth may make it difficult or painful for you to chew. Perhaps your teeth are becoming loose or crooked as they move to fill in the gap left by a missing tooth. Or maybe, you are embarassed to smile because of uneven or missing teeth. When your teeth are damaged or missing, you may have pain, and you may not be confident about your smile. It can also lead to bite problems, jaw pain, or tooth decay and gum disease.
Your dentist can help restore your teeth, so you can chew comfortably and feel confident about your smile again. After a thorough dental evaluation, your dentist will recommend the best treatment for damaged or missing teeth. Depending upon your personal dental needs, he/she may suggest a crown, helpful for decayed, broken, or cracked teeth, or a fixed bridge, or removable denture if you are missing one or more teeth.
A crown, often called as a cap, is an artificial cover that restores a decayed or damaged tooth to its normal shape and size. It is useful for protecting the structure of the tooth that is cracked or broken. A crown can also be used to change the shape of a tooth, to correct a bite or cosmetic problem, or to replace existing broken or poor fitting crowns. A crown may be made of gold, other metals, or porcelain.
After the decision has been made to crown your tooth, your dentist prepares your damaged tooth by reducing and reshaping the tooth, so as to create space for the crown. Then a measurement of the prepared tooth and of the surrounding and opposing teeth is taken. Before you leave the dental office, your dentist makes and places a temporary cover onto the prepared tooth to protect it, until placement of the permanent crown. Your measurements are then sent to a dental laboratory for processing of the crown. Meanwhile, take care of your temporary crown by avoiding sticky and hard foods. Clean carefully around the temporary crown. If the crown comes off or is loose, call your dentist immediately.
Your dentist replaces your temporary crown with a permanent one that has been made by the laboratory. Your dentist adjusts the crown, making sure you are comfortable with it. The crown is then cemented or bonded to the prepared tooth.
This picture shows a set of beautiful ceramic crowns.
A fixed bridge can replace one or more missing teeth. It consists of one or more replacement teeth attached to crowns that are placed on two or more supporting teeth. Along with replacing teeth, the fixed bridge helps restore normal function and proper position of your bite. A fixed bridge is made of various metals, porcelain, or a combination of the two.
Your dentist first reshapes the supporting teeth that will be used as anchors for the bridge. Then a measurement of the prepared teeth and of the surrounding and opposing teeth is taken. Your dentist then selects a shade as close to the colour of your natural teeth as possible. To protect the prepared teeth while the fixed bridge is being made in the laboratory, your dentist may fit a temporary bridge that is held in place by temporary cement.
Once your fixed bridge arrives from the laboratory, your dentist will cement or bond it into place after making any necessary adjustments. Further adjustments can be made after the bridge has been tried in the mouth for a few days.
Living with your Crown or Bridge
With good oral hygiene, your crown or bridge can last a very long time. This includes proper brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.
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