Dentures: Crowns and Bridges
Dentures refer to all treatment measures that involve a complete reconstruction of a damaged or incomplete bite. There are various different causes of tooth loss, but they are usually removed due to severe tooth decay or gum disease. Dentures may also be required, however, after accidents or due to malformations of the teeth. Dentures are needed in order to restore chewing function and stop any complications from arising.
For example, missing teeth may cause remaining teeth to become slanted or to change position, or may lead to bone loss or complaints in the jaw joint. Aesthetics also play an important role, as missing front teeth or a sunken cheek area can have a detrimental effect on how the face looks. The principal prosthetic treatment options for tooth replacement are crowns and bridges, both of which will be carefully explain below:
Reconstruction of one or more teeth
Crowns are required when any given tooth can no longer be treated with a filling or inlay due to the severity of tooth loss, but regardless of this, the tooth is to be preserved. Crowns improve stability and form a protective cap around the tooth. They can also be used to replace unsightly teeth in order to achieve a better look. Before a tooth is covered with an artificial crown, an anaesthetic must first be applied, and the tooth ground into shape.
After this tooth preparation stage, a crown is manufactured in the dental laboratory. During this time, the tooth stump is protected using a provisional plastic cap. The crown, once completely prepared by the laboratory, is then affixed to the tooth stump using a special dental cement.
Materials used in dentures
A crown can be manufactured using various different materials. A ceramic-veneered metal crown is the norm: this involves a metal base for the crown which is surrounded by a tooth-coloured ceramic. We use a more aesthetically appealing, newer version of the denture: all-ceramic crowns. These are made up of a stable zirconium-oxide base, providing improved stability, which is then covered in a blended ceramic veneer. A completely metal-free crown, made from biologically-compatible, white ceramic. As they are almost impossible to distinguish from natural teeth, these crowns can even be used in the area of the front teeth, a critical area for an aesthetically pleasing result.
Dental bridges: closing up a tooth gap
A bridge is an artificial tooth replacement solution (denture) that is supported by neighbouring teeth. They are used to treat gaps in the bite. Either one or multiple missing teeth can be bridged using this denture. Only if neighbouring teeth are assessed as being healthy and able to provide sufficient stability are they ground down to stumps to be used as pillars for the bridge. The procedure for creating a bridge is similar to the one used to create a crown.
The difference lies in the additional manufacture of a functional, carefully-formed central piece (bridge) that replaces the missing tooth. All materials that can be used to create crowns can also be used when manufacturing bridge dentures. That is to say, modern all-ceramic constructions (see above) can also be used for bridges, just as they are commonly used for crowns.
Dental reconstruction options
There are various different dental reconstruction options depending on the teeth available in the mouth to be used as pillars for the bridge. In cases of multiple tooth gaps, the health of the remaining teeth and the position of the gaps in the jaw are what determine whether a bridge construction is possible. Where this is not the case, the number of available pillars can be increased using dental implants, for example.
This can play a particularly important role when all the teeth from a row are missing, the so-called ‘free-end situation’. A healthy periodontium (the tissues that support and surround the teeth), jaw bone and gums are all necessary for this treatment, and must be achieved through the right treatment before the dental reconstruction is begun, where required.
All-ceramic crowns and bridges
Thanks to the most cutting-edge computer technologies, we manufacture our own inlays, crowns and bridges from biologically-compatible ceramics, allowing us to completely avoid the use of metals. The material we use is called "zirconium oxide".
How are dentures made
Once the tooth has been treated and is free of tooth decay (dental caries), impressions are taken which are then measured using a digital 3D scanner. The data produced by the scanner allow a computer to digitally render the denture (using CAD/CAM technology), which is finally milled out from a ceramic block by our computer-controlled milling machine.
All of these steps take place in our own dental laboratory within the practice. During this process, our dental technicians select the right tooth shape for you, individual to your bite, as well as selecting the right tooth colouring.
What is it that sets ceramic dentures apart from the rest?
Ceramic crowns and bridges are completely tolerated by the body, even in people who suffer from allergies. They ensure the body is protected as they do not contain any metals. Natural teeth are transparent across their entire structure. Dentures that contain metals in their base interrupt this natural transparency. When the new zirconium-oxide ceramics are used, this negative effect can be avoided as the material has translucent properties. They also ensure that the effect of dark metal edges appearing over time, which can occur in metal-based bridges, cannot happen. Particularly in the all-important region of the front teeth, zirconium-oxide ceramics embody the aesthetically ideal solution. The side area can also be treated using this solution, guaranteeing a beautiful and natural finish.