When you get dental crowns, sometimes it’s called having your teeth capped. While this is often thought of as a cosmetic procedure, crowns are actually the method dentists use to restore teeth that are severely damaged. Dental bridges replace teeth that are missing, but they differ from dentures or implants because they are not removable yet not permanent either. Here are some explanations of these different treatment options and circumstances under which you might need them.
Bridges to Replace Missing Teeth
Dental bridges are used to replace one, two or three teeth. When more teeth than that are missing, or when missing teeth are not next to each other, partial dentures are usually used instead. A bridge relies on the natural teeth that surround it for support. For example, imagine two missing teeth right next to each other. The bridge that will replace the teeth consists of two artificial teeth in the middle and a crown on each end. The crowns fit over your natural teeth that are next to the gap, and the artificial teeth fit into the gap. The result when the bridge is placed is four natural looking teeth. The two healthy teeth on the ends must be reduced first for the crowns to fit over them. These teeth support the bridge, and because it is cemented in place by the dentist, you don’t have to remove it for cleaning like you would with dentures or partials. With proper care a dental bridge can last for several years, but after 10 years or so it should be replaced.
Crowns to Restore Teeth
Unlike dental veneers that are strictly cosmetic, dental crowns fully restore teeth and bring them back to full function and health. This is because a crown surrounds the tooth completely. A crown can be used in cases where a tooth is broken or damaged but the root is healthy. The root and healthy portion of the tooth remain in place, and the crown is placed around the tooth, completely restoring its size, shape and strength. Crowns do have a cosmetic appeal because they can reshape teeth, but unlike dental veneers that are just thin coverings, crowns are a strong restorative dental procedure.
Cosmetic Dentistry for Oral Health
Many of the procedures a cosmetic dentist performs actually have oral health benefits as well. Some services like teeth whitening and porcelain veneers really are just cosmetic, but many other services that are considered to be part of cosmetic dentistry also improve your oral health and the strength of your teeth. To find out more about what a cosmetic dentist can do for your smile, your self-esteem and your oral health, or to learn more about the differences between procedures like bridges, crowns, veneers and more, call us now to set up a consultation appointment.