Crowns and fixed bridges are used to treat problems of decay, fractured teeth, malocclusion and to protect teeth which have had root canal treatment, or large fillings. They can also be used to change tooth color and shape.
Dental crowns are restorations that cover up or “cap” natural teeth, restoring them to their natural size. A well-made crown should appear inconspicuous. The crown not only improves function and appearance, but can also protect a tooth that might otherwise be lost.
A fixed bridge is designed to replace teeth that have been lost. Aside from the obvious effects of missing teeth on personal appearance and mastication (chewing), there are other concerns. Without replacing missing teeth, the normal pressure of chewing can stress the remaining teeth and cause them to shift out of alignment, resulting in difficulty with chewing.
Dental crowns and fixed bridges are usually made of porcelain for optimum appearance and may contain an inner layer of gold alloy for strength. Crowns or bridges made entirely of gold alloy may be more advantageous on back molars that do not require porcelain for appearance.
The procedure for fabricating crowns and/or bridges is usually accomplished in several appointments, the first of which includes preparation and shaping of the teeth, impressions, color selection and digital photography for laboratory communication, and placement of temporary crowns or bridges. At the subsequent appointment, the new crown or bridge is cemented in place.