On many occasions, a tooth requires a restoration stronger than a mere filling to properly return it to form and restore itʼs function. Teeth that are fractured as a result of anything from cavities, trauma, or even presence of a large, older restoration will need strength beyond what a filling can provide. A crown, or “cap” as theyʼre sometimes referred, can provide that strength. The massive amount of chewing force concentrated on teeth necessitate the need for a restoration stronger than a filling. Without the strength of a crown, the tooth may need a root canal or even extraction.
A crown provides strength and protection to the tooth by surrounding it in a strong protective shell made of anything from gold to ceramic. When a tooth cemented with a crown bites down, the biting force is disseminated through the crown and eliminates a splitting or wedging force that could split a tooth. This potentially saves the tooth from needing advanced treatment like root canal therapy or extraction. Crowns can be made now from materials that are a vast improvement over crowns of the past eliminating unsightly dark lines and obvious cosmetic discrepancies. Crowns can be used beyond just improving strength for chewing. They can be used to correct cosmetic defects or restore smiles to an ideal appearance.
If a tooth is missing and teeth on either side of the space could benefit from increased strength as from a crown, then a bridge can be an ideal solution. The size or length of a bridge is determined by how many teeth are to be replaced. A bridge is, in essence, a series of crowns fused together. Anchored on either side, a bridge is a minimum of three units but can be much longer depending on how many teeth are missing. The missing teeth are replaced by crowns (called a pontic) that are rounded on the underside to deflect food particles and maintain a natural looking appearance emerging from the gums. Besides looking completely like natural teeth being replaced, the bridge accomplishes other things as well. Being permanently attached, it does not need to be taken out like a removable appliance such as a partial denture. The stabilization achieved prevents spacing of neighboring teeth, tipping or crowding, and eliminates potential super-eruption of opposing teeth. Bridges can be placed on both front and back teeth. In circumstances where a dental implant canʼt be used but a tooth needs replacing, a bridge can be an ideal solution.