Dental crowns are used to repair, reinforce and protect weak or broken teeth. Think of them as a customized shield. They fit over the damaged tooth so it doesn’t get cracked or fractured when you chew. It usually covers the area of tooth that is exposed above the gums. Sometimes, these are called dental caps, tooth caps, or tooth jackets.
Crowns can be made out of metal alloys, or more natural-looking materials such as porcelain, ceramic, and zirconium.
Dental fillings will seal a part of the tooth, but doesn’t improve the tooth’s overall strength. Also, fillings are placed directly into your tooth. Dental crowns are custom-made in a dental laboratory, based on a mold that your dentist made of your teeth.
Dentists often recommend this treatment when a tooth has gone through a lot of deterioration because of tooth decay or root canal. In some cases, they can also use this for cosmetic purposes. Since crowns have a customized color and shape, they can act like an instant smile makeover, hiding a chip or uneven teeth to create the appearance of a perfect smile.
Bridges are artificial teeth that are permanently cemented into place. These are customized to fit in gaps from missing teeth, and look as natural and realistic as the ones you were born with. Dental bridges are usually made from metal, porcelain, ceramic, or zirconium.
Bridges not only restore your smile – improving your appearance and confidence – but can also prevent the remaining teeth from shifting out of their position. These also make eating, speaking and chewing easier, especially if several teeth are missing.
Unlike dentures these can’t be removed for cleaning. However, they are generally easy to maintain with your regular oral hygiene. The only extra step you may need to take is to spend more time flossing underneath the bridge, much as you would floss between teeth. Your dentist will show you how to do this.
Dental bridges may require some restructuring of the surrounding teeth to accommodate the fitting of the bridge. Nowadays, dentists recommend dental implants as a much better solution.