When a tooth is heavily decayed, it is likely to fracture and lose considerable tooth substance. Crowns, also known as caps, restore
damaged teeth and mimic the shape, size and colour of the surrounding teeth. Crowns are indicated for cracked teeth, teeth with deep cavities, to protect teeth that have been root-canal treated, to provide extra support for bridges and to cover poorly shaped or discolored teeth.
Crowns can be made of metal, ceramic, or zirconia material. Among the variants, zirconia crowns are the hardest and most durable crowns available. They are custom-made and fitted for each patient, depending on the size and length of the natural teeth.
The tooth to be crowned is prepared by reducing the size of the tooth, by employing local anesthesia. This is done to make space for the crown that is to be fitted. An impression of the tooth is then taken to measure the exact size. The impression is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians fabricate the crown. A temporary crown is fitted to avoid damages to the natural tooth while the crown is being prepared in the lab.
A bridge is used to stabilize the bite of a patient with a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Bridges prevent the surrounding teeth from moving or shifting into an empty space formed by a missing tooth. A missing tooth that is not replaced may cause surrounding teeth to become unstable and require removal, compromising oral health or change the shape of the face and diminish the beauty of a smile. Unlike partial dentures, bridges are permanent and do not have to be removed.
The missing tooth is replaced with an artificial tooth connected between two crowns, which are permanently cemented or bonded on the neighboring teeth. Bridges can be used to replace a small number of missing teeth if the neighboring teeth are sufficiently strong. The number of missing teeth, condition of the neighboring teeth, condition of the supporting gums and bone are all important factors which are assessed prior to making a bridge.