This is an area of dentistry called “Fixed Prosthodontics”.
Fixed Prosthodontics involves completely covering teeth with a cover that is made outside the mouth. If this involves a single tooth, then the tooth is getting a cap or crown. These two terms are the same in dentistry. If a tooth is being replaced so that it is not removable, it is done with a cemented bridge. Like a bridge over a river, it is anchored on each end by a crown, and the crowns are connected with a false tooth in between. We prepare the teeth by shaving them down to a thimble shape and we take an impression of these tooth stumps. We send the impression to our dental laboratory and they make the bridge, usually using a white tooth-coloured material. It usually takes about two weeks to get the crown or bridge back from the lab and then it is cemented in place. During those two weeks, you will wear a plastic tooth over the stump that is fixed with temporary cement so that it can be easily removed at the next appointment.
Today, state-of-the-art tooth replacement is with implants. Replacing a single tooth with an implant is a bit more expensive than a standard porcelain bridge. However, for those who cannot afford an implant, a bridge in our office can be done with considerable savings. We do not charge the dentist’s fee for the false tooth resulting in a savings of about $400.
Why would your dentist recommend a cap or crown? If a tooth has had a very large filling, it is usually seriously weakened. Sometimes these teeth will break and will need to be removed. Research shows that if a tooth with a large filling is covered with a cap or crown, the chances of catastrophic fracture (meaning the tooth needs to be removed) are significantly reduced.
Have questions or need to see a dentist? Reach out to our office by calling 519-596-1035.