Dental crowns and bridges are prostheses that are affixed to the dental anatomy permanently. Unlike removable dentures that must be removed and cleaned on a daily basis, dental crowns are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, which means that only dentists can remove them.
In Costa Rica, dental crowns are often requested by dental tourists. The implantation of crowns requires some level of surgery, which must be performed by a team of dental implantatology experts and prosthodontists.
How Dental Crowns Work
A crown is applied for the purpose of completely covering a damaged tooth. Crowns can be implanted to improve the appearance, shape or alignment of the tooth. Crowns can also be placed on an implant to modify the shape and functional structure of a tooth; the goal in this case would be to improve speech and chewing.
It is possible to match the color of dental crowns with natural teeth. Other crown materials include gold, acrylics, ceramics, and metallic alloys. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain, and they are recommended for back teeth. Sometimes, porcelain can be bonded to the outer face of a metal crown, thus providing a strong dental restoration that is aesthetically pleasing.
In Costa Rica, dental crowns may be recommend in the following situations:
- To fill spaces where there is not enough enamel
- To prevent the loss of a tooth weakened by fracture
- To repair a tooth that has been damaged
- To place a dental bridge
- To cover a dental implant
- To cover a tooth that has been discolored or deformed
- To cover a tooth after root canal treatment
How Dental Bridges Work
If you are missing one or more teeth, a dentist in Costa Rica will likely recommend a bridge. Over time, gaps between missing teeth cause the contiguous teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, which results in an improper bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also result in gum disease and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).
Bridges are commonly used to replace two or more missing teeth, and to occupy the space left by them. Dental bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These devices are called abutments, which serve to anchor the bridge.
Replacement teeth set on a bridge are called Pontics, and they are connected to the crowns that cover the abutments. Similar to crowns, several materials can be used for the fabrication of bridges. Dentists can help dental tourists in Costa Rica decide which one to use, depending on the location of the missing teeth, function, aesthetic considerations, and cost. The color of porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to that of natural teeth.
How Are Dental Crowns and Bridges Made in Costa Rica?
Before making dental crowns or bridges, the dentist must reduce the size of the teeth so that the prostheses will fit over them properly. The dentist will then take a dental impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is chosen, the dentist in Costa Rica will determine the correct shade for the color of the crown or bridge to match natural teeth.
Using this impression, a dental lab makes the crown or bridge material specified by the dentist. At dental practices such as the Flikier Institute, the in-house lab is convenient for dental tourists who are only staying a few days in Costa Rica.
While the permanent crowns or bridges are being fabricated in the lab, a temporary devices can be placed to cover the teeth being prepared for the procedure. When the permanent devices are ready, the temporary crowns or bridges are removed and the permanent one are cemented to the prepared tooth.
How Long Do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While dental crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they can sometimes become loose or fall out. The most important factor in ensuring the longevity of crowns or bridges is to practice good oral hygiene. If the teeth or bone holding a dental bridge are damaged by periodontal disease, the bridge will lose support. Keeping healthy gums and teeth is a must, Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste should be done at least twice a day, and using mouthwash in between. Visits to the dentist and hygienist must be done regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
To prevent damage to new crowns or bridges, chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects must be avoided.