Chances are that you're considering having a crown, a number of crowns or a permanent bridge designed. To assure the most esthetic and functional results possible, your cooperation and understanding are especially important to us. In this page we'll take you, step by step, through crown and bridge treatment.
What Is Crown And Bridge Treatment?
Crown and bridge treatment is a long-term method of replacing missing teeth. A crown is placed on an individual tooth, (somewhat like a thimble over your finger) where there is no longer sufficient tooth structure left to place a filling.
A bridge spans a space where one or more teeth have been lost in the dental arch. The teeth on either end of the span are crowned, and are referred to as abutments. The false teeth in a bridge that join the abutments are referred to as pontics. Crowns and bridges are most often made from superior materials such as precious metals (gold), semi-precious metals, porcelain, or a combination of metal fused to porcelain.
Both esthetics (appearance) and function are considered when selecting the material most suitable for you.
At the first appointment a thorough oral examination, evaluation of your dental history and necessary X-rays are completed. The diagnosis is based on these three factors. Once it has been determined that crown and bridge treatment is indicated, you will be set up with a series of appointments.
Note: It's important that you keep all of these appointments.
You see, your treatment occurs in a planned sequence. Missing or postponing your appointment may cause treatment delays, allowing further tooth movement before treatment can be completed
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is an appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth. These appliances are cemented into place and cannot be removed by the patient.
How is a dental bridge constructed?
As the name of this appliance implies, the bridge is made out of three pieces that fit into the open space in the mouth, "bridging" the gap. Most bridges are made of a pontic tooth (or false tooth), held together by two crowns (a "cap" that covers the tooth, approximating its normal size and shape). This trio is then attached (cemented) to the abutment teeth (the surrounding teeth of each side of the gap).
Who is a candidate for bridges?
Nearly everyone who has one or more missing teeth is a candidate for a dental bridge. However, the difference between proper and improper oral hygiene is, generally, what determines the success of the dental bridge.
What are the different types of dental bridges?
There are several different types of dental bridges. Your dentist or oral health specialist will recommend the most appropriate one for your mouth condition and the location of the missing tooth or teeth.
Traditional bridge - a pontic tooth (or false tooth) is held together by two crowns (a "cap" that covers the tooth, approximating its normal size and shape). This trio is then attached (cemented) to the abutment teeth (the surrounding teeth of each side of the gap).
* resin bonded bridge (Also known as a "Maryland" bridge.) -this type of bridge involves the pontic (false) teeth being fused together to metal bands, bonded to the back of the abutment teeth with a resin cement. This type of procedure is common when the teeth missing are in the front of the mouth.
* cantilever bridge - this type of procedure is most appropriate when there is only one abutment tooth on either side of the span.
Oral health care and bridges:
The following recommendations will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your teeth bonded by a bridge:
* Brush your teeth carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, as food may become lodged causing the gums and teeth to become infected. This may lead to further complications resulting in the loss of the bridge.
* Floss daily. Your dentist, or other oral health specialist, may recommend using a floss threaded for hard-to-reach places between the bridge and its adjacent teeth.
* Have your teeth cleaned every six months by an oral health professional.
* Limit your sugar and starch intake, as debris left behind from these types of foods may turn into damaging acids, which, in addition to promoting plaque formation, may also be harmful to teeth and gums.
* Avoid hard and/or sticky snacks. This includes foods such as popcorn, hard or chew candy,caramel, and/or nuts.
Most bridges last eight to 10 years with proper oral hygiene