When a tooth is cracked, decayed, or damaged, a crown may need to be fitted
onto the tooth. A crown is a permanent covering that fits over the original
tooth. Crowns can be made of porcelain, gold and other metals, acrylic
resin, or an amalgam (a mix) of these materials. Porcelain crowns typically
have the most realistic appearance, although they tend to be less durable
than other materials. Crowns can whiten, reshape, and realign existing
teeth, adding to a bright, healthy smile.
A bridge is a device used to fill the space where a tooth has fallen out
or been removed. A typical bridge consists of a pontic (a filler tooth)
that is attached to two surrounding abutments (crowns). Once complete,
this bridge structure is bonded into the mouth. Without the use of a bridge,
spaces in the mouth from missing teeth can cause multiple teeth to shift,
lead to occlusion (biting) and/or jaw problems and spur periodontal disease.
Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a
healthy, vibrant smile.
For individuals who wish to replace missing teeth, dental implants may
be an effective long-term solution. Implants provide greater structural
support and last longer than either bridges or dentures. Implants serve
as the artificial root to which new teeth are bonded. They are typically
constructed of titanium, a strong and safe material that effectively attaches
to bone. The procedure to insert dental implants typically involve three
steps: the implant insertion stage, osseointegration (the period of healing
for the jawbone), and the attachment of the restoration or new tooth.