A dental crown (also sometimes referred to as a 'dental cap' or a 'tooth cap') is a 'thimble' which encases the tooth on which it is cemented, so strengthening it. A crown requires some remaining tooth tissue for it to be retained, so the moment of deciding to place a crown rather than a filling requires some consideration. Crowns are used when rebuilding broken down teeth as a way to strengthen them, especially after a tooth has been root filled, and as a method to improve the aesthetic appearance of a tooth.
The type of crown will depend on the tooth involved and sometimes on your preference. They include porcelain crowns, porcelain-bonded-to-metal crowns, which combine the appearance of tooth coloured material with the strength of metal, gold alloy crowns and acrylic crowns.
A crown is more complicated than a filling. Laboratory fees are incurred in its preparation and the materials used are more expensive than normal filling materials.
A bridge is an appliance permanently fixed in the mouth to replace missing teeth. It uses remaining teeth, adjacent to the space, to support the new artificial tooth or teeth by putting crowns on them and having the technician build those crowns with similar artificial teeth (pontics) in the space. A bridge provides false teeth that rigidly attached to these crowns.
How long is the process?
Two or three visits are usually required for the dentist to reduce the size of the existing tooth, make a mould, fit a temporary crown and finally adhere the permanent crown in place.
Crowns and bridges are made in a dental laboratory by a dental technician, who builds on moulds of your teeth made by Dr. Telford. The design of the mould is crucial.