Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory

There’s much more to dental crown and dental bridge work than simply the act of restoring a damaged tooth.

Dr Mahkam Ghanbari, Gumdale Practice

The jaw is designed to have a base of precisely 28 teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth. However just as a car won’t run at its optimum level if you take one wheel off, nor will a mouth bite or chew efficiently without its full allocation of teeth.

Which is where my area of specialty—crowns and bridges—really comes into its own.

What is the difference between a dental crown and a dental bridge?

The purpose of a dental crown is to “cap” the tooth helping to restore shape, size, strength and alignment in the process. Usually constructed out of porcelain, ceramic, metal alloy or acrylic, the crown can be colour matched to existing teeth.

A dental bridge is used to help span the gap where the teeth are missing and is typically cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.

Why are they needed?

When one tooth is missing, many of the adjacent teeth are often affected as well. What happens is the adjacent tooth will often rotate and start moving towards the open gap while the tooth opposite will either move up or down to compensate for the lost or damaged tooth or teeth. If left untreated bone loss can happen and sometimes gum disease also results. In addition the surrounding teeth may get more sensitive and the patient’s overall oral health compromised.

How long does the dental crown or bridging process take?

It is usually done over two appointments of between 30 and 40 minutes each. Before work can begin on making a dental crown or dental bridge, the affected tooth (or teeth) must first be reduced in size to ensure the resulting crown or bridge will fit properly. We then take an impression of the space to ensure the mold is individually customised. If colour matching is required it is done at this stage. The impression is then sent to a dental lab, which then makes the crown or bridge in the agreed material. We usually put in place a temporary crown or bridge while the permanent one is being constructed. This process normally takes two to three weeks, after which we ask you to return so the permanent crown or bridge can be inserted.

How can future damage be prevented?

We encourage our patients to employ good oral hygiene routines by brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and using mouthwash. Those practices will also benefit the dental crown and dental bridge as well. In addition our practice recommends a special type of floss that allows patients to floss under the dental bridge as well as clean the front of the bridge. As with all our patients we always advise those who have had dental crown or dental bridge work done to have six-monthly routine check-ups with their dentist or oral hygienist.