If a tooth has lost a lot of structure from its crown, either because of decay, or having its fillings replaced many times, or due to an accident, often a crown is the best and only solution to save the tooth.
A crown is basically like a custom made 'helmet' that fits over the entire surface of a crown after a few millimeters has been trimmed off all the surfaces to allow room for this crown to be permanently cemented on. If you have a large filling, imagine that whenever you chew, the parts of the tooth that are natural (i.e. not filling material) are always flexing, and at risk of fracturing. If this fracture then either extends under the gums, or to the centre of the tooth where the nerve lives, often that spells the end for that tooth. An advantage of the crown is that it encapsulates (or protects, like a 'helmet') all the natural tooth tissue, as well as the filling material, and stops this flexion from happening thus preventing catastrophes down the line.
There are generally three types of dental crowns: porcelain, metallic, or a combination of both. With the great advances made in porcelain strength and manufacturing in the recent decades, the shift is definitely towards the more aesthetic porcelain-based dental crown options.
Based on the qualities and characteristics you need on a particular tooth we will advised you for or against certain types of dental crowns. For example, if you have a heavy bite, and need a very strong crown you may need a Zirconia-based crown, or an Emax. If you need something highly aesthetic, like a front tooth crowned, you may need a porcelain jacket crown, or a Emax. Other considerations are, for example, if you’ve got a metal more underneath your crown that needs to be masked so it won’t show through your crown you’ll definitely need a porcelain-fused to metal dental crown option.
To help clarify a lot of these concepts and to find the best option for you, book into our dental clinic in Marbella, and we can go through the different advantages and disadvantages of each, and help you make an informed decision.
If you have a gap in your mouth of one or several teeth missing, then a very good option to fill this space in a fixed (i.e. non-removable) manner is to have a bridge placed. A bridge is basically two crowns (one on either side of the gap) fused to an extra crown which fills the middle gap. Bridges can be put in both the front and the back of the mouth, and always have a white porcelain finish.
Bridges can use either natural teeth, or implants to support them. If you have no natural teeth in your mouth you can have all your teeth restored with 'implanted-supported over-dentures', which are basically like have anywhere between 2-8 implants (per arch) and then building a full-arch bridge that is cemented on, and you don't need to take them out of your mouth every night like you would with conventional dentures. There is also a removable option, which in some rarer cases can be made.