Crowns are like miniature crash helmets for a tooth, designed to protect them from risks of damage.
If a tooth has significant cracks, or has lost a lot of structure over the years from decay and repeated fillings, it will be at risk of failure, and crowns are often the only option to rebuild and preserve a tooth.
Crowns and veneers often are used to reshape or rebuild teeth from a cosmetic viewpoint, to make beautiful smiles.
Bridges are multiple crown units joined together, to fill a gap from a missing tooth. A bridge is made of similar materials as a crown, in a similar way.
Crowns can be made from a myriad of materials these days. Broadly, there are 3 types:
- All ceramic (metal free) systems – these are the most aesthetic
- Hybrid metal/ceramic – a metal base, with ceramic fused on the outside. They are not used a lot these days, as the aesthetics are not as good, but they have some advantages in particular circumstances.
- Gold alloy – these are occasionally needed for very difficult to repair teeth, generally at the very back of the mouth where they cant be seen. They have numerous structural advantages, with just the appearance being a bit out there!
Crowns are not a low cost treatment, but many teeth would be at great risk of needing root canal, fracturing, or being lost without this treatment. Saving a tooth by crowning it is generally a third of the cost of losing a tooth and replacing it with an implant – a comparative bargain.
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