A crown completely covers a tooth above the gum line. This is in contrast to a dental veneer, which only covers a tooth’s front surface and needs natural tooth structure to support it. Therefore, if a tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line, a crown would be the restoration of choice.
Crowns strengthen damaged teeth, allowing them to function normally again. When crafted from today’s high-tech porcelains (dental ceramics), crowns are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They can even be designed to improve upon a tooth’s original appearance.
The crown strengthens the portion of the tooth above the gum-line but this margin area requires special care. Normal brushing and flossing is a must. Additional use of a fluoride rinse (ie. Act or Flurogard), and a high fluoride content toothpaste or gel (ie. Prevident 5000 or Gel Kam) are excellent for preventing additional root decay. These additional aids are extremely important for patient with a high decay rate and/or a history of periodontal disease.
A dental bridge consists of an artificial tooth connected to a set of crowns used to fill a gap created by one or more missing teeth. Your dentist will create a custom bridge for your mouth that will look and function like your natural teeth. At your first visit, the area is numbed and a dental hand piece is used to prepare the neighboring teeth that will support the bridge. Next, impressions are taken of the prepared teeth and a temporary bridge is placed to protect the teeth. The impressions are used to fabricate a model of your mouth on which the final bridge is made. The final bridge is then cemented and anchored to the neighboring teeth, so you do not have to worry about removing or repositioning the bridge once it is cemented in your mouth. With proper oral hygiene and regular dental exams, bridges and crowns can solve the problems created by missing and damaged teeth and last for years to come.