What are crowns and bridges ?
When a tooth are considered too decayed for comventional composite ( tooth-coloured ) fillings or amalgams to be done , your dentist may opt for a more resilient "restoration" which is what we term as crowning of the tooth . A crown can be made completely of metal , which is normally indicated for your back teeth .
A laminated crown , which is layered with metal and porcelain can be done for your front teeth where appearance is of importance . Or better still , a crown made completely of porcelain is usually done now-a-days with the use of Zirconia . (From wiki , Zirconia : Zirconia is a very hard ceramic that is used as a strong base material in some full ceramic restorations. The zirconia used in dentistry is zirconium oxide which has been stabilized with the addition of yttrium oxide. The full name of zirconia used in dentistry is yttria-stabilized zirconia or YSZ.)
While crowning of a tooth costs more than conventional fillings done normally , they are definitely more long lasting and will provide a better sense of security both to the patient and the dentist , If done properly , crowning of a tooth are proven over time to last a very long time . Dental crowns are "glued" to your teeth by dental cement which are made of specially formulated materials which are loosely similar to those of composite fillings .
In Malaysia , based on the MDA guidelines of pricing for dental crowns 2010 , they will cost around RM650 and above for non precious metal full metal crowns ( which means crowns that are made of metals that are not expensive ) while metal crowns that contains precious metal will cost you about RM1000 and above. Ceramic crowns , which requires a certain amount of expertise and technique to fabricate will cost you around RM1100 and above . While roughly translates that crowning for your front teeth will usually cost more . Those porcelain fused metal crowns ( layered crowns with a metal base and porcelain outermost layer will range from RM700 - RM 1200 depending on the type of metal used . These prices were drafted quite some time ago , therefore it is better to bet on the safe side and consult your dentist about the prices he is charging before moving on .
Dental crowns can also be done on a child when his or her teeth are unrestorable by composite fillings , we call them Stainless steel crowns , althought they aren't made of stainless steel but are mostly Nickel based . These crowns that are placed on children are meant to maintain the integrity of the tooth until they change to their permanent teeth .
Dental bridges are done when there is a tooth missing in between two "healthy" tooth to replace the missing tooth in between . With a larger missing teeth area missing in an area , the probability of a bridge to fail will increase too . That is because the bridge itself will be only supported by less "foundation" and will experience more force from biting . Therefore , It is of utmost importance to discuss the treatment plan with your dentist thoroughly and you might be better off with a pair of dentures .
Bridges are made just like crowns are made with the difference of bridges consists of a few units of "attached crowns" .
Based on the Malaysian Dental Association guidelines of 2010 , Bridges are priced based on the number of "units" of the bridge . Which means , if your bridge is a 3 unit bridge using non precious metal , it will be RM650 x 3 = RM1950 . Some dentist will not be calculating like this and may offer a cheaper price . Please do take note that , Crowns and bridges are complicated pieces of mini prosthesis for your teeth and our fellow dentists are required to send them to a dental laboratory for fabrication , which means prices of crowns and bridges are actually determined by the type of metal and the workmanship from the dental lab's side .