Crowns & Bridges
With certain types of tooth decay or damage, we may recommend crowns and/or bridges as treatment options to repair the function of your bite and restore your smile.
How do Crowns Work?
We use crowns to cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape, or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic, and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
We may recommend a crown when one or more of the following applies:
– Replacing a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
– Protecting a weak tooth from fracturing
– Restoring a fractured tooth
– Attaching a bridge
– Covering a dental implant
– Covering a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
– Covering a tooth that has had root canal treatment
How do Bridges Work?
We may recommend a bridge if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges span the space where the teeth are missing and are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. We’ll help you decide which material to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations, and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth
How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, we will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, we’ll determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.
We then send your impression to a dental lab that creates the crown or bridge in the decided-upon material. During this time, you’ll wear a temporary crown or bridge to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent one is ready, the temporary one is removed, and we cement the new crown or bridge over your prepared tooth or teeth.
How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step that you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also continue to see us regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice, or other hard objects.