Crown and Bridge Treatment
If you are faced with tooth loss, crown and bridge treatment may be the best option for you. A bridge is a custom-made device anchored to neighboring natural teeth, which replaces one or more missing teeth. When a lost tooth is replaced with bridgework, the teeth on either side of the missing one are prepared as crowns to hold the bridge in place. Bridges, sometimes referred to as a fixed partial denture, look natural and literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Fixed bridges appear and function similar to natural teeth and remain in the mouth at all times. They can only be removed by your dentist.
Benefits of Crown and Bridge Treatment
- Restores lost teeth and supports remaining teeth
- Restores and maintains your natural bite
- Improves your speech, smile and chewing ability
- Helps prevent further dental decay and gum disease
- Prevents tilting and shifting of adjacent teeth
A crown or "cap" is a tooth-like covering placed over an existing tooth that has been specially prepared by your dentist. Crowns help to strengthen and restore or improve the appearance of your natural teeth. In addition to strengthening a tooth to accommodate the attachment of a bridge, crowns serve many functions. One of the most common is to support the tooth when there is no longer sufficient tooth structure left to place a filling. Crowns and bridges are most often made of superior materials such as semiprecious or precious metals, porcelain or a combination of metal fused to porcelain. Crowns can help prevent the development or worsening of cracked teeth.
Crown and Bridge Procedure
Once it is determined you need crown and bridgework, a series of appointments will be scheduled.
- At the first appointment you will undergo a complete oral examination. If X-rays are required, they are taken. Next, the supporting teeth are reduced to accept crowns and impressions are made. A dental laboratory will use these impressions as a model to create the bridge. Your teeth are then fitted with a temporary crown or bridge to protect your teeth until the next appointment.
- At the second appointment, your cosmetic dentist will make any necessary adjustments before cementing it permanently. The dentist will take time to color match the bridge so it looks natural, check your chewing and biting for accuracy and ensure the bridge conforms to the surrounding tissue. It is common for your teeth to be mildly sensitive to extreme temperatures for a few weeks after the procedure.
Caring For Bridges
Good oral hygiene can help your bridge last a long time. If you do not properly control the build up of food debris and plaque, your teeth can become infected, resulting in decay and the potential loss of your bridge. The difference between proper and improper care generally determines the success of the dental bridge. Proper care tips include:
- Brush the surfaces and sides of your bridge like you do your natural teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush after each meal
- Floss at least once daily. Special thick floss can help keep your bridge clean
- Use an interdental brush to clean between large spaces
- Have your teeth cleaned by your dental hygienist as recommended by your dentist
- Avoid sticky foods like caramel, gum and taffy and crunchy foods like hard candy
- Do not chew ice cubes