No one likes a missing or broken tooth! Large gaps between your teeth not only look unsightly, but can alter your bite, increase strain on surrounding teeth and cause gum disease or decay. Fortunately, porcelain crowns and bridges can solve the issue.
And the great news is that here at The Lytham Dental Clinic we have a special interest in porcelain crowns and bridges and have a wealth of experience in their use, enabling us to restore your teeth to their former glory!
What are porcelain crowns and bridges?
Crowns and bridges are made of porcelain and other ceramic-like materials and are fashioned such that they fit over the top of a suitably prepared tooth, to mimic the aesthetics and function of our natural teeth.
Although there are aesthetic benefits to this treatment, the main reason for placing crowns is to strengthen damaged teeth so they can withstand the large forces we exert on them when we eat. And thanks to the latest developments, porcelain crowns can now blend in seamlessly with your other teeth.
Bridges are prepared in a comparable way to crowns and look very similar. However, they are used as a fixed way of replacing missing teeth and are a fabulous alternative to removable partial dentures.
Why would porcelain crowns and bridges be suitable for me?
Crowns are used for a number of reasons, mainly where veneers or dental bonding restorations don’t provide a strong enough solution.
- For heavily decayed teeth
- For heavily fractured teeth
- For heavily eroded teeth
- For teeth with a large cavity
- Following root canal treatment
- To cover a dental implant
- For cosmetic reasons
Case Studies by © Dr Timothy Williams:
Q. I have seen people with nasty looking black margins at the gum line. Is this normal with crowns?
A. Cheaper crowns, or crowns made using metal substructures often result in this poor appearance. However, all the crowns and bridges provided here at The Lytham Dental Clinic in the aesthetic zone (front teeth) and the vast majority of crowns and bridges on the back teeth are made using state of the art all-ceramic materials. The result is much more natural looking restorations which blend in with the natural teeth, without the worry of unsightly black margins.
Q. How long will the crown last?
A. Properly cared for crowns should last for many years.
Q. How long does the treatment take?
A. You will need to have at least two visits. The first is to have the tooth prepared, the impressions taken, the shade matched and the temporary crown fitted. The second is to fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 2 weeks in between appointments.
Q. What will happen between visits?
A. We always fit temporary crowns so that you can use the tooth while you wait for the new crown to be made.
Q. What is a post crown?
A. If a tooth is root-filled we may have to insert a post before placing a crown. A post provides support and helps the crown stay in place. We use custom-made posts to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.
Q. Are there any alternatives to post crowns for root-filled teeth?
A. If a root-filled tooth is not completely broken down, it may be possible to build it up again using filling materials. This ‘core' is then prepared in the same way as a natural tooth and the impressions are taken for a conventional crown.
Q. How do I care for my crown?
A. How long your crown lasts depends on how well you look after it. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. Therefore, to prevent decay affecting the crown, it is important to keep this area just as clean as you would your natural teeth. Brush for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean in between your teeth with ‘interdental' brushes or floss/ dental tape.
Q. How much will it cost?
A. The cost of porcelain crowns and bridges really depends on your individual needs, the type of treatments needed, and the materials used. At your initial appointment, we will discuss this with you and also provide you with a fully itemised treatment plan and estimate of costs. We will also provide you with payment plan options that can make cosmetic dental improvements affordable for you.
Q. What if I have missing teeth?
A. There is no reason to live with missing teeth. A full set of teeth improves self-esteem, speech, digestion, and sense of taste. It makes all the other teeth last longer by reducing the stress on the remaining natural teeth. Those patients who suffer from jaw joint disorders (TMD) often are unable to become pain-free without a full set of teeth to balance muscle and dental forces.
Q. What is better, a bridge or a dental implant?
A. They each have advantages and disadvantages. Since any cosmetic or functional situation that involves a missing tooth presents its own challenges and circumstances, careful and well thought out treatment plans will give the best outcome. The advantage of an implant is that it will permanently replace a tooth since it is anchored in the bone, with a crown placed on top of it. A disadvantage of implants is that it can take up to 6 months to complete. Bridges are not anchored into the bone like implants are, instead they are anchored to adjacent teeth. This requires preparation of teeth for crowns. If you have teeth that do not have any fillings in them or they are minimally restored you might not want to put crowns on them for a bridge. In this case it would be better to have an implant. Conversely, if the anchor teeth are heavily filled or broken-down, a bridge may be the better option. Another advantage of having a bridge as opposed to an implant is that it is fairly quick and can be completed in a few short weeks. Bridges can be provided with an all porcelain system so that they can look beautiful. If the adjacent teeth are getting weak from poor bone support or excessively large fillings, having a bridge in place will give the teeth more support. Another disadvantage of having a bridge is that the teeth that are anchoring the bridge can no longer be flossed. An implant supported crown is a separate unit and is flossed like your own teeth.