What is a Dental Bridge? A dental bridge is a false tooth that is used to fill the gap created by a missing tooth or missing teeth. Dental bridges use the two surrounding teeth as anchors to hold a false tooth in the place where the gap is. Typically, porcelain crowns are placed over the surrounding teeth, and the false tooth, known as a pontic, is fused between them. Should I get a dental bridge if I’m missing teeth? Leaving a gap between your teeth could lead to negative consequences. A gap can cause your teeth to shift resulting in a change in your bite that may be cause pain. Having a bridge can prevent that problem. Another alternative is to get a dental implant if you are a candidate. Types of dental bridges There are three types of dental bridges that are commonly used today: Traditional fixed bridge – This is the most common type of dental bridge, in which porcelain crowns are placed over the two surrounding teeth and used as anchors to hold the false tooth in place. The false tooth is usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. Cantilever bridge – This is used when teeth are present on only one side of the gap. These are used typically in areas of your mouth that doesn’t experience an intense chewing load, such as your front teeth. Resin-bonded bridge – In a resin-bonded bridge, metal bands are bonded to the surrounding teeth with resin and used to hold a plastic false tooth in place. This type of bridge is typically used in areas of the mouth that undergo less stress, such as the front teeth. How it’s done There are two visits required. First visit: The surrounding teeth are prepared to be fitted with a crown. This may including filing down the tooth so that the crown can fit over it. An impression is taken of your teeth which will be sent to a laboratory to prepare the bridge and crown. The dentist fits your teeth with a temporary bridge to protect them while the bridge is prepared at the laboratory. Second visit: The temporary bridge is removed and the new bridge received from the laboratory is fitted and adjusted. Multiple visits may be necessary to check and adjust the fit.
Why get a Crown? A dental crown (or cap) is used when a tooth is broken or decayed to such an extent that fillings aren’t able to repair the problem. The crown is able to provide a protective shell around the damaged or decayed tooth to strengthen it, as well as to improve the appearance of the tooth. While crowns come in different materials, the most common crowns typically have some mixture of porcelain in them to give them a look and feel similar to a natural tooth. How it’s done The dentist reshapes the tooth and takes impressions to create the crown. Typically, a portion of you tooth will have to be removed for the crown to fit properly. Then he/she will use a special material to create an impression of it. This impression will be sent to a dental laboratory to be made into a permanent crown. Before sending you home, the dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to cover your tooth in between visits. In a few weeks, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and fit the new permanent crown. Before cementing the permanent crown in place, he will ensure that it fits comfortably and matches the colour of your teeth.
Root canal therapy is treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has been infected due to a deep cavity or cracked tooth. If the treatment is not performed, infection of the nerve can spread into the surrounding bone which may spread for years unnoticed. However, it is more likely that an acute infection will develop, which will probably require removal of the tooth. What are the signs that a root canal is needed? Severe tooth pain while chewing Your tooth pain wakes you up at night Teeth that are highly sensitive to hot or cold, with the sensitivity lingering for some time. Discolouration or darkening of the tooth Swollen gums in the area of the infected tooth What does the treatment involve? An opening is made into the pulp chamber (middle of the tooth) The pulp is removed. (A tooth’s pulp and nerve is not important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has fully emerged from the gums.) The root system is thoroughly cleaned. A temporary filling will be placed to protect the tooth, if the dentist decides to complete the root canal therapy in multiple visits. When you return, the dentist will remove the temporary filling, re-clean the root canal and pulp chamber, fill the root canal system with a plastic-like filling material, and place a permanent filling and/or crown over the tooth. Root canal therapy has a high rate of success (>95%) and many teeth undergoing the procedure can be saved to last a lifetime. However, root canal treated teeth are more brittle and they are more susceptible to fracture. It is highly recommended to protect root canal treated teeth with crowns to prevent future breakage.