Dental crowns and bridgework

At our dental practice we perform many different treatments. Among those is the placing of dental crowns and bridges. Crowns and bridges are used as a sustainable replacement for damaged, decayed or unattractive teeth. Would you like more information on dental crowns and bridgework? Then feel free to contact us or visit us at our dental practice.

This page will provide you with everything you want to know regarding dental crowns and bridgework. We will go over how they are placed in the mouth, what they actually are and how they can be best cared for. The information on this page will be particularly interesting to people who have had, or are about to, have a crown or bridge placed.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown (or “cap”) is a cap made from metal or porcelain and is shaped in such a way that it fits perfectly over a tooth. Only when it is a perfect fit, the dentist will glue the dental crown to the surface of the tooth. By placing a dental crown, the tooth will regain its original shape and function.

Dentists often choose to use a crown when the tooth does not offer enough surface for a filling due to, for example, heavy dental decay. However, a dental crown can also be used to improve the appearance of the tooth in case of discolouration or when having crooked teeth in a visible position in the mouth.

What is a dental bridge?

Bridgework is used to replace one or more missing teeth, quite literally bridging the gap. The dental bridge uses the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth, also known as abutment teeth, as supports for the crown that will fill the gap. This crown is also referred to as a pontic or dummy. The bridge itself consists out of at least two or more crowns, depending on the amount of missing teeth, and the pontic(s).

A bridge can, among other things, improve your ability to chew, improve the appearance of your teeth and it can prevent your teeth from growing askew (crooked).

There are several types of dental bridges, namely:

  • Traditional fixed bridge: This is a common bridge with abutment teeth at both sides of the gap;
  • Cantilever dental bridge: Cantilever bridges can be utilized when there are no teeth on one side of the missing tooth where the pontic can be fixed, so only one side supports the bridge with a healthy tooth and crown;
  • Maryland Bonded Bridge: This bridge is placed when the teeth at both sides of the open space are flawless. The Maryland bonded bridge is used to replace one or two teeth. The pontic is fixed to the adjacent healthy teeth with metal or porcelain wings on either side of the bridge, which are fixed behind the adjacent teeth;

What are dental crowns and dental bridges made of?

There are three materials used for making dental crowns and dental bridges:

  • Porcelain. These days it’s very common to have a zirconium crown, a dental crown made from 100% porcelain. Dental crowns and bridges made from porcelain are very versatile and are used for / in different situations because of their strength and their natural appearance;
  • Metal and porcelain. Dental crowns and bridges made from metal and porcelain have a metal base. A layer of porcelain is added to give it a better, more natural looking, appearance;
  • Metal. Dental crowns and bridges made from metal are very strong and abrasion-resistant. These crowns and bridges are only placed in the back of the mouth because of their metallic appearance;

The dentist will determine what type of material or combination of materials will be used for your dental crown or dental bridge.

How are dental crowns and bridges placed?

It’s good to know, prior to the procedure, how exactly dental crowns and bridges are placed. The following steps will guide you through the process.

In case you have a crown or bridge placed, it’s often comforting to know how this process exactly goes. That’s why we describe the steps the dentist will take in placing your crown or bridge.

Reshaping the tooth

During your first visit your teeth are prepared. The dentist will recontour the shape of the tooth to ensure there is enough space for the dental bridge to be placed. During this first step it’s possible to ask for a local anaesthetic to ensure a pain free experience.

Making impressions of your teeth

The dentist will make an impression of your teeth which will then serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic(s) and crowns will be made. This will be done by a dental lab and normally takes about ten workdays.

Bite registration

The next step the dentist will take is the bite registration. With this bite registration the dentist can determine how well your teeth and molars from your bottom jaw align with those of your upper jaw. To make this bite registration, the dentist uses a wax plate.

Determining the colour

Is the crown or bridge placed in the front of your mouth? Then this needs to be given a natural look. Together with your dentist you determine what colour fits your teeth best. This is the colour your crown or bridge will get.

Making a temporary crown

Placing a dental crown or dental bridge cannot be done in a single treatment. Before you will get your permanent crown or bridge, you will have to use a temporary (emergency) dental crown. With this crown placed, you are not allowed to eat sticky or hard food. The temporary crown has two purposes. Firstly it’s aesthetic and functionally more convenient to have a tooth in the gap, but it’s also important that everything stays in place whilst the bridge is made. Teeth have the tendency to shift when there is space free next to them. When this happens, there is a chance the permanent crown will no long have a perfect fit. Your temporary bridge will be removed when your new dental bridge or dental crown is ready.

Fitting the dental crown or dental bridge

The dentist will use a quick-setting cement to fit your dental crown or dental bridge in place. This cement will be applied to the inside of your crown or bridge. The dentist will then place the crown or bridge in its place. The treatment is done when the crown has been securely fitted.

In case there is no surface to properly have a dental bridge or dental crown placed, the dentist can make a structure which will then be placed in the mouth and serve as a surface. This structure will be fitted in your mouth by pinning it into the root canal of your tooth. The dental crown or dental bridge will then be placed over this structure.

What are the costs of this treatment?

The cost of dental bridges varies depending on several elements such as the type of dental crown or dental bridge, the material used and the dental laboratory costs. In case a structure needed to be placed to serve as a surface for your dental crown or bridge, there will be additional costs involved.

Prior to placing a dental crown or dental bridge, the dentist will always inform you on the cost of the treatment. Depending on your individual dental plan at your insurance company, there are cases in which the cost for a dental crown or bridge are covered in full or partially.

How do I care for my dental crown or bridge?

It is very important to care for your dental crown or dental bridge well. Especially the gums surrounding your crown or bridge need proper cleaning. Carefully yet thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day in combination with flossing and the use of toothpicks will help with keeping your teeth strong. Your dentist or oral hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and floss teeth.

Would you like more information or to make an appointment? Contact us.

If you would like more information on having dental crowns or bridges placed we are more than happy to answer any questions you might have. If you would like to meet with one of our dental professionals then we’d like to welcome you at our dental practice for a consult and to have a look at your teeth. If the dentist determines that a dental crown or dental bridge is indeed necessary, then we can often make a short term appointment for you.