A dental crown is a porcelain or porcelain-metal covering that strengthens and improves the appearance of an existing tooth.
Some situations where a dental crown is appropriate include:
1. To cover a damaged or decayed tooth that is unsuitable for a filling
2. To protect a weakened tooth
3. To cover a stained or misshapen tooth
The preparation of a dental crown involves removing a layer of the tooth and preparing a mould of the tooth. This mould is used to create a permanent dental crown which will be fitted onto your tooth with either a dental adhesive or cement. A temporary crown may be fitted until the permanent crown is ready.
Crowns can last many years if they are cared for properly, but sometimes they can break or fall off for a few reasons. The cement may not hold it in place permanently, or the tooth under the crown may decay too extensively to maintain its crown.
To maintain the health of the tooth its edge underlying the crown, we recommend brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and flossing as normal.
A dental bridge replaces a row of missing teeth with false teeth. A bridge is attached to the two teeth on either side of the gap of missing teeth and are fixed in place. This is an alternative to a partial denture, which is a set of removable false teeth, and dental implants.
Benefits of a dental bridge include restoring your smile and improving your confidence. It is also important to replace the missing teeth due to detrimental changes to the way you bite if the gap is not filled.
To prepare for a dental bridge, your dentist will usually file down the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap and take a mould. While the mould is being prepared into a dental bridge, you may be given a temporary bridge. When the permanent dental bridge ready, it is put into place and cemented to the surrounding healthy teeth. It can also be anchored with a dental implant which involves its surgical placement into the jaw.
Dentures are removable false teeth that are worn to replace missing teeth. Aside from being a cosmetic replacement for missing teeth, dentures can make eating and speaking easier.
There are 3 main types of dentures:
1. Full denture – a denture that sits on your gum and replaces all the teeth on either your upper or lower jaw, or both
2. Partial denture – replaces some teeth and is fixed in place via clamps around your remaining teeth
3. Implant-retained denture – replaces one or more teeth and is fixed through implants in your jaw
Dentures may be used following tooth extractions, typically using an ‘immediate denture’ that require frequent adjustments as gums heal. However, dentures may be delayed for a few months following extractions to allow the healing gum to settle in shape.
Taking care of your dentures requires daily brushing of dentures with soap and water using a soft-bristle toothbrush.
A dental implant is a procedure that replaces a missing tooth.
It involves fixing the implant, which is a piece of metal akin to a screw, into the jaw where the missing tooth roots were over a series of small operations. The implant is allowed to settle in the jaw as bone around it grows and holds it in place. Once stable, your dentist will prepare the implant as a foundation for the new tooth and have the artificial tooth, or crown, prepared from a mould.
The artificial tooth is then attached to the metal implant to replace the missing tooth. The crown is made to mimic your other teeth is shape, size and colour. Dental implants are also used to hold dental bridges or dentures in place.
As the dental implant process involves minor surgeries, you may have bruising, pain, swelling and bleeding of the gums following each surgery.
Ultimately, no special care is required for a dental implant other than regular brushing and flossing.