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Restoring function and creating beautiful smiles in Birmingham

Our modern dental crowns and bridges bring time-honoured tooth replacements into the 21st century.

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Natural-looking replacement teeth for your smaller gaps

Crowns and bridges offer both a functional and aesthetic solution to very damaged, decayed or missing teeth. All of these solutions are bespoke, and require you to sit for dental impressions so that a prosthetic tooth, or teeth, can be expertly made in a dental lab. At West Heath Dental Surgery, your dentist will talk you through the options available and offer clear advice and guidance on the best solution for your needs.

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Dental crowns

Crowns are recommended when a tooth has broken, worn down or is decayed so much that a filling is no longer an option. They are also routinely used to strengthen a tooth following a root canal treatment. Created from porcelain or metal, crowns are made in a dental lab to your exact specifications. The restoration is then bonded over your existing tooth (literally ‘crowning’ it). Crowns are also used to secure a dental bridge in place.

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Dental bridges

Bridges hide the spaces in your smile caused by large gaps or missing teeth, and consist of a prosthetic fitting secured at each end by a crown. Even if your missing teeth are causing no discomfort, dental bridges are highly recommended for preventing potential future problems. These include bite distortion, caused by your remaining teeth shifting to fill the gap, and vulnerability to gum disease and jaw pain. Like crowns, bridges are usually created from porcelain or precious metal, and are an excellent fixed alternative to dentures.

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A selection of dental crowns

Getting a dental bridge or crown at West Heath Dental Surgery

Getting a crown or bridge usually requires two or more appointments at West Heath Dental Surgery. Firstly you’ll need to have your tooth prepared to receive a crown. The dentist will gently file and smooth your damaged tooth into a streamlined shaped that will accommodate your crown perfectly. Depending on the state of your tooth, this can be done with or without a local anaesthetic. Once your tooth is ready, your dentist will take your dental impressions, which a dental lab will use to fabricate your bespoke restoration. You’ll be fitted with a temporary crown or bridge while you wait (usually around two weeks), and return to the dentist to have your permanent restoration bonded firmly into place.

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FAQs

What is the difference between a crown and a bridge?

A crown is a single-tooth restoration that caps your existing tooth. A bridge replaces one or more adjacent missing teeth with a prosthetic that literally bridges the gap, held in place at each end by a crown.

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What are dental bridges and crowns made of?

Porcelain fused to metal are the usual materials from which crowns and bridges are made; they have a proven track record for success and look great.

Bridges and crowns may also be made of other materials such as:

Gold: a hardy metal that wears at a similar rate to teeth. The most durable and predictable material for crowns.
Zirconia: used because it’s extremely strong, even in thin sections. Colour matching may at times be a challenge.
Ceramic: All ceramic bridges have the advantage of looking natural. They usually have a zirconia core for strength and are layered with porcelain.

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How is a crown or bridge fitted?

Before your custom restoration is made at the lab, your dentist will prepare your tooth by filling it down into a smooth shape that correctly accommodates the restoration. Dental impressions will then be taken and sent to the lab where your restoration will be made. When it is ready, you’ll return to the dentist to have your crown or bridge cemented in place.

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How long will my crown or bridge last for?

Dental crowns last 15 – 20 years on average, whereas bridges may last 10 – 20 years. However, in many cases they can last even longer depending on how well looked after they are, the type of materials used, and the condition of the supporting teeth.

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What types of dental bridge are there?

There are three types of bridges available:

Fixed bridges

This most commonly used bridge uses two single crowns to hold a false tooth in between. Supporting structures will be either teeth or implants.

Cantilever bridges

With this option, only one tooth is used to hold the false tooth, or in some cases, two teeth on the same side.

Resin-bonded bridges

These can be a permanent option, but can also be used as an interim solution for front teeth while waiting for an implant. For this option, a metal wing is bonded to the back of one or more of your teeth to retain the false tooth.

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Are there any alternatives to crowns and dental bridges?

The main alternatives to crowns and dental bridges are dentures or implants. There’s also the option of nothing at all.

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