Crowns & Bridgework

Crowns & Bridgework

A crown completely covers a tooth above the gum line. This is in contrast to a dental veneer, which only covers a tooth’s front surface and needs a natural tooth structure to support it. Therefore, if a tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line, a crown would be the restoration of choice.

Crowns strengthen damaged teeth, allowing them to function normally again. When crafted from today’s high-tech porcelains (dental ceramics), crowns are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They can even be designed to improve upon a tooth’s original appearance.

There are other materials besides porcelain that we can use to make dental crowns, depending on what qualities are most important. For durability, cast gold can’t be beaten. However, this is not always the most aesthetic choice — especially towards the front of the mouth. Other possibilities include porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFM), which have a metal interior for strength and a porcelain exterior for a more natural appearance, and all-porcelain crowns with zirconia, representing the strongest ceramic. We would be happy to discuss the pros and cons of these various options with you.

Crowning or Capping a Tooth

Crowning or capping a tooth will usually take two to three visits. At the first visit, your tooth is prepared to receive its new crown. First, it is shaped to fit inside the new covering. This will involve some drilling to give the tooth a uniform shape. The tooth and the surrounding area will be numbed beforehand. If there is very little tooth structure left to begin with, the tooth may have to be built up with filling material, rather than filed down, to support the crown.

After the tooth is prepared, impressions of your teeth are taken, either digitally or with reliable, putty-like impression materials, and sent to the dental laboratory. There, the impressions will be used to make models of your teeth for the creation of a crown. The models will serve as guides to the highly skilled lab technicians, who will ensure that your new crown is designed to enhance your smile and function well within your bite.

Before you leave the office, a temporary crown will be attached to your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready. At the second visit, your permanent crown will be attached to your tooth with either a resin that hardens when exposed to a special light source, or a type of permanent cement.

Creating a Bridge

Crowns can also be used to create a lifelike replacement for a missing tooth. This is done with bridgework, which spans the space of the missing tooth and requires at least three crowns. Two of those crowns will be placed over healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth; these healthy teeth are referred to as abutment teeth. The two crowned abutment teeth become supports for a third crown placed in between them; that third crown is referred to as a pontic. If more than one tooth is missing, more crowns will be needed to bridge the gap in between the abutment teeth.

The number of abutment teeth necessary to replace missing teeth is influenced by the number of missing teeth, the size, and length of the abutment tooth roots, the amount of bone support each abutment tooth has, as well as where in the mouth the missing tooth is located. For example, if you have three missing teeth, four abutment teeth may be necessary, thereby creating a seven-tooth bridge. Engineering and designing the bridge requires an understanding of how to replace teeth, as well as the biology of the supporting gum and bone tissue.

Caring for Your Crowns & Bridgework

Crowns and bridgework require the same conscientious care as your natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss between all of your teeth — restored and natural — every day to reduce the buildup of dental plaque. When you have crowns, it is even more important to maintain your regular schedule of cleanings at the dental office. Avoid using your teeth as tools (to open packages, for example). If you have a grinding habit, wearing a nightguard would be a good idea to protect your teeth and your investment.

Why Are Dental Crowns Used?

Cosmetically Improve the Aesthetic of a Tooth

Dental Crowns are able to conceal imperfections and either restore or improve the natural appearance of a tooth in circumstances where bonding or veneers would not be sufficient. Crowns are often the best way to restore the beauty of a smile.

Repair a Severely Damaged Tooth

When a tooth is suffering from extensive decay or damage, such as a large cavity or broken tooth, a dental crown can be placed in order to save the natural tooth's function, restore its appearance, and remedy or prevent severe tooth pain.

As Part of a Root Canal Procedure

If an infection spreads to the soft interior of a tooth, a root canal is often performed to remedy the infection and save the natural tooth. Often, once the root canal is completed a dental crown is placed on top of the tooth in order to protect the tooth and provide additional support.

Cosmetically Improve the Aesthetic of a Tooth

When a tooth is missing, a post is embedded into the jaw area where the root of the missing tooth used to be. A crown is then placed atop this post and is indistinguishable from the surrounding natural teeth.

Cosmetically Improve the Aesthetic of a Tooth

Dental Crowns are able to conceal imperfections and either restore or improve the natural appearance of a tooth in circumstances where bonding or veneers would not be sufficient. Crowns are often the best way to restore the beauty of a smile.

Repair a Severely Damaged Tooth

When a tooth is suffering from extensive decay or damage, such as a large cavity or broken tooth, a dental crown can be placed in order to save the natural tooth's function, restore its appearance, and remedy or prevent severe tooth pain.

As Part of a Root Canal Procedure

If an infection spreads to the soft interior of a tooth, a root canal is often performed to remedy the infection and save the natural tooth. Often, once the root canal is completed a dental crown is placed on top of the tooth in order to protect the tooth and provide additional support.

Cosmetically Improve the Aesthetic of a Tooth

When a tooth is missing, a post is embedded into the jaw area where the root of the missing tooth used to be. A crown is then placed atop this post and is indistinguishable from the surrounding natural teeth.

What are the Benefits of a Dental Crown?

Lasting Durability and Strength

Modern dental crowns are extremely durable and typically last for many years. Made from medical grade porcelain, your crown will match the appearance of your natural teeth while lasting up to 10 years or more.

Completely Natural Appearance

Individually crafted crowns are perfectly matched to the surrounding teeth in shade, shape, and positioning. This means that your crown will be indistinguishable from a natural tooth and restore or enhance the beauty of your smile.

Save Your Natural Tooth

By placing a protective crown atop a damaged or compromised tooth, your dentist is able to save the root structure of the tooth, maintain the function of the tooth, and help to protect the overall integrity and structure of the mouth.

Lasting Durability and Strength

Modern dental crowns are extremely durable and typically last for many years. Made from medical grade porcelain, your crown will match the appearance of your natural teeth while lasting up to 10 years or more.

Completely Natural Appearance

Individually crafted crowns are perfectly matched to the surrounding teeth in shade, shape, and positioning. This means that your crown will be indistinguishable from a natural tooth and restore or enhance the beauty of your smile.

Save Your Natural Tooth

By placing a protective crown atop a damaged or compromised tooth, your dentist is able to save the root structure of the tooth, maintain the function of the tooth, and help to protect the overall integrity and structure of the mouth.

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How to Know if You Need a Dental Crown

Broken or Cracked Teeth

Cracked or fractured teeth don’t heal, and solutions like fillings are typically not able to adequately repair the damage. Capping the damaged tooth with a dental crown is often the ideal solution to restore function and relieve pain.

Large Cavities Or Decayed Teeth

When there are large cavities in a tooth, trying to repair the cavity with a filling can place the tooth at significant risk for breaking. By capping the tooth with a crown, the cavity is repaired, and the structural integrity of the tooth is ensured.

Excessive Tooth Wear

When teeth are excessively worn down due to teeth grinding, highly acidic diets, bulimia, or acid reflux the function of the bite may collapse, and the best solution is to cap the tooth with a fully formed dental crown. This restores the function of biting and chewing while also saving the tooth from further damage.

Broken or Cracked Teeth

Cracked or fractured teeth don’t heal, and solutions like fillings are typically not able to adequately repair the damage. Capping the damaged tooth with a dental crown is often the ideal solution to restore function and relieve pain.

Large Cavities Or Decayed Teeth

When there are large cavities in a tooth, trying to repair the cavity with a filling can place the tooth at significant risk for breaking. By capping the tooth with a crown, the cavity is repaired, and the structural integrity of the tooth is ensured.

Excessive Tooth Wear

When teeth are excessively worn down due to teeth grinding, highly acidic diets, bulimia, or acid reflux the function of the bite may collapse, and the best solution is to cap the tooth with a fully formed dental crown. This restores the function of biting and chewing while also saving the tooth from further damage.

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