How Bridges and Crowns Can Restore Your Smile

If you have one or more missing teeth, you may want to consider dental crowns or bridges to rejuvenate your smile. Bridges and crowns are both examples of permanent fixtures. These apparatuses differ from dentures, which are removable prosthetic teeth. Aside from the aesthetic benefit of correcting lost or missing teeth, there are practical benefits of crowns and bridges as well.

When one or more teeth are missing, the remaining teeth have a tendency to shift out of place, compromising the alignment of all the teeth. Dental restorations may be necessary to fill in the gaps where the natural tooth used to be. Having missing teeth or improper alignment of the teeth may also impair the ability to chew and properly digest food.

A crown is a cap that is placed over the tooth to restore the tooth to its original strength and shape. Crowns can be made of metal alloy, stainless steel, ceramic or porcelain, and may be used if the tooth is too damaged by decay to support a filling. The porcelain variety are more inconspicuous than the metal or silver ones and can easily be shaped and molded to match the appearance of the natural teeth for a flawless look. Crowns may be especially useful for children who have badly damaged baby teeth due to decay and cannot support a filling. The crown will serve to strengthen and preserve the tooth until it falls out naturally, reserving the space for the secondary tooth to come in.

Typically, the patient will have an initial visit in which a mould is taken of the tooth. The mould is then sent to a dental laboratory where the crown is created to fit the shape of the tooth. An additional visit will be necessary to cement the crown onto the tooth’s surface. The cost of a crown may range between six to nine hundred dollars per tooth. Some dental insurance plans may provide partial or full coverage for this procedure.

Bridges are useful if there are a number of teeth missing in a row. Bridges are similar to partial dentures, however they are fixed in place and considered to be a permanent solution. Typically, bridges are attached to tiny titanium abutments that are implanted in the gums relative to where the root of the natural tooth used to be. The bridge, consisting of a row of prosthetic teeth, is fixed on to the abutments and held in place with a bonding agent. The bridge enables the patient to regain an ability to chew properly and smile without any detectable difference between the prosthetic and natural teeth. This procedure may require two to three dental visits, and the cost ranges from one to two thousand dollars.

Missing teeth may affect a patient on a cosmetic as well as physiological level. Left untreated, having a missing tooth can create an opportunity for the remaining teeth to shift out of alignment. Crowns and bridges can be an effective treatment if the patient has one or multiple missing teeth.