‘Crown and bridge’ dentistry is one of the most widely performed dental procedures, and is basically intended to prosthetically replace lost or missing parts of the dentition. Dental decay is the most common cause of loss or destruction of either a part, or the whole of tooth structure. Periodontal or gum disease is another common cause for loss of teeth, as it causes loss of the tooth supporting tissue.
Treating dental disease is more than just eliminating a toothache. Often, decay or gum disease leaves people with broken down or missing teeth. Replacing the lost tooth structure is essential, not just for proper chewing, but also to preserve the health of the remaining teeth, maintain them in proper position, prevent sagging of cheeks and keep the jaw joint healthy.
A ‘crown’ is a restoration designed to restore a tooth that has lost structure. A crown basically is like a ‘cap’ that is cemented on to a tooth that the dentist prepares or shapes to receive it. The most common indication for a crown is after a root canal treatment or deep decay. A tooth that has decayed deep or fractured, often has a damaged and inflamed pulp, and needs root canal treatment.
In such cases, the remaining tooth structure is brittle, hollow and needs to be ‘crowned’ to restore strength, esthetics and function. While crowns for back teeth can be made in full metal or tooth colored ceramic, anterior teeth are always crowned with tooth colored metal-ceramic or highly esthetic all-ceramic. Other examples of indications for crowns are; severely worn teeth or those that are intended to support partial denture clasps.
A ‘bridge’ is made up of two or more ‘crowns’, which are joined to a false tooth or ‘pontic’. A bridge is the most usual way of providing a fixed replacement for one or more missing teeth by using the adjacent teeth, referred to as the abutment teeth, as anchors. In cases where sufficient teeth are not present to support a bridge, dental implants can be placed to serve as the abutments.
For more information, please contact Dr. Chip Mercer, a dentist specializing in crowns in Arlington, TX, for a personalized consultation.