A crown is a type of dental restoration used to fix teeth that have been broken, weakened by decay or have a very large filling. The crown fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. It will also be tooth coloured, giving the restoration a more natural appearance so it fits in with the rest of your teeth.
A crown could be a good solution for you if you have some discoloured fillings and would like to improve their appearance. Crowns can be used to replace these to give you a more aesthetic smile. Also, if you have had root canal treatment you will need a crown to protect or cap the restored tooth, allowing you to eat and bite down on it as if it was a real tooth. Crowns are also used to anchor a bridge or denture firmly in place in the mouth.
Thanks to improved technology and materials we are now increasingly using more metal free crowns and inlays to restore broken down teeth. These new types of restorations require less tooth tissue removal and employ minimally invasive techniques by using special bonding cements. They have far superior aesthetics compared to traditional metal based crowns.
If you require a more extensive restoration than a crown or have more than one tooth that needs to be repaired, a good solution is a bridge. Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base which gives them a solid structure and makes them hard-wearing. If you need a bridge in your smile line, porcelain is usually added to the base to make it look more like real teeth. A bridge helps to strengthen the prepared teeth and makes chewing and eating easier because they are fixed and can't come out.
Some bridges can also be fixed to your jaw with dental implants, if you have several teeth next to each other that are missing.
Once you have a bridge fitted, you will have to take extra care of your daily hygiene regime to ensure it stays plaque free and that you can prevent bad breath.
If you have a few or all of your teeth missing, one solution is to have a denture. A denture is made from hard-wearing material that mimics the look of teeth and gums to give you mouth a natural appearance. Your denture will be made to fit snugly on your gums and you will be able to remove it for cleaning.
When you wear a denture for the first time it may get some getting used to when speaking or eating and chewing. It is important that you take extra care in your hygiene regime so that you can avoid bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. The hygienist will be able to show you how to best take care of your denture and gums and will tell you about specialised brushes you can use to do this.