Crowns are porcelain or gold ‘shells’ that look and function like a real tooth. They are very strong and are usually required to do one or more of the following:
- repair heavily broken down teeth to prevent them from breaking further
- restore weak teeth to make them stronger
- to replace old or existing crowns that have been damaged or worn down
- to replace old or existing crowns that have an unsightly appearance, i.e. to improve the aesthetics of the existing teeth
Bridges are designed to fill gaps that have been left when one or more teeth have been removed or are missing. They are a fixed appliance, which means that they cannot be removed once fitted. There are a variety of different types and designs of bridges, but traditional bridges utilise your existing teeth as support for ‘bridging’ your gaps.
Bridges are basically crowns that are connected together over the space of a missing tooth, therefore filling the empty space with a new tooth, or teeth, so you can avoid having unsightly spaces between your teeth. In these cases, the supporting adjacent teeth are prepared in a similar way to a crown, to become part of the bridge, and, once cemented in place, provide a seamless continuity of appearance and function.
Adhesive bridges, also known as Maryland bridges, are more conservative than traditional bridges as they generally require only minimal preparation of the existing adjacent tooth. The new tooth fills the space by being bonded (glued) to the adjacent prepared tooth via a metal wing and very strong cement. These are not as strong as traditional bridges, but provide a simple solution to replacing a missing tooth.
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