Crowns and bridges are used to restore weak or missing teeth, to complete your smile and make your bite stronger and more stable. At Damira, our skilled and experienced dentists will always tell you the range of treatment options that are available to you if you need to have teeth repaired or replaced; crowns and bridges are popular treatments that are painless and effective.
What Are Crowns?
A crown is sometimes called a ‘cap’: it is a tooth-shaped cover that is handmade to blend in with your natural teeth. It will cover your natural tooth to restore its shape, size or strength or to make it look better and give you a strong, healthy-looking smile. Crowns are long-lasting (with good care they can last for over 15 years) and highly effective at strengthening or perfecting your teeth.
How Do Crowns work?
A crown is often used to strengthen or repair a tooth when that tooth is so decayed or damaged that it cannot be repaired using a filling or root canal treatment. It can also be used for cosmetic reasons if a tooth looks crooked or badly discoloured by a large filling.
Crowns are made from a range of materials (from gold to ceramic) – which material is used can be decided in discussion with your dentist. Factors that affect which material is used include: where in your mouth the crown is to be fitted; your own personal preference and budget or cost to the NHS. Depending on the material used, your crown can be carefully colour-matched to your natural teeth so that it blends perfectly into your smile. Some of our patients choose to have their teeth whitened prior to having a crown created, so that their crown can be colour-matched to whiter teeth and this is something we can discuss with you if you are interested. Crowns are available on the NHS but if they are needed for purely cosmetic reasons then they can be paid for privately.
Will Crowns Work For Me?
Your dentist will recommend a crown to you if you have a chipped, broken or fragile tooth, or if your tooth already has a large filling but appears to require further work. A single crown can be fitted to a single tooth, or several crowns can be fitted if more than one tooth is affected. Once your crown is fitted your tooth will be stronger and look more uniform alongside your natural teeth, giving you a straighter, more confident smile.
How Long Do Crowns Take To Fit?
To be fitted with a crown you will need two appointments: at the first, an impression will be taken of the tooth that needs a crown. Your crown will take a week or two to prepare, at which point you will return for your second appointment to have the crown gently fitted. Once fitted, your crown will be secure and you can treat it as a natural tooth – it does not need specific cleaning beyond your normal routine brushing. You can also continue to floss, though your dentist will show you how to do so without risking dislodging your crown over time.
What Are Bridges?
Bridges are used to fill gaps in your smile that cannot be disguised using crowns or veneers. They are false teeth that are permanently fixed to your neighbouring teeth to take the place of one or more missing teeth. Without a bridge, a significant gap in your teeth can cause you to feel self-conscious; it can also cause physical difficulties with eating and speech, and can increase the risk of instability and decay of your remaining teeth.
How Do Bridges Work?
Bridges fill a gap caused by missing or extracted teeth; they are strongly and securely attached to your natural teeth that lie on either side of the gap. Bridges look like one or more fake teeth, so when fitted you will have a complete smile that looks entirely natural.
Once fitted, your bridge will remain as a permanent feature of your smile; they do not need any special care, just routine brushing and good oral hygiene.
Will Bridges Work For Me?
If you have several missing teeth, you may feel embarrassed by your smile; you may also find that eating and your speech are affected. A bridge may be recommended by your dentist to help all of these problems. Bridges are available on the NHS.
How Long Do Bridges Take?
If your dentist feels that a bridge would benefit the health and appearance of your smile, you will need to come in for two appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and take a careful record of the colour of your surrounding teeth so that your bridge can be colour-matched and made to look like your natural teeth. At your second appointment your bridge will be fitted.
Sometimes, your surrounding teeth may need to be strengthened so that they can support your bridge and keep it stable: in that case, your dentist may need to fit crowns to the supporting teeth. If your teeth are missing because they have been extracted, you may need to wait several weeks before you can be fitted for your bridge to allow any swelling to go down, so that your new bridge will fit properly.
Contact Us About Crowns Or Bridges
If you have damaged, decayed or missing teeth, call us to arrange an appointment to discuss all available treatment options. If your dentist recommends a crown or bridge they will be able to give you full details of what will happen at each stage and answer any questions you may have. We can also advise if you are not sure whether your procedure will be covered by the NHS or will need to be paid for privately.