Crowns and Bridges
Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.
Bridges are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures, because they are semi-permanent and are bonded to existing teeth or implants. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the wearer; others need to be removed by a dentist.
Porcelain, gold alloys or combinations of materials are usually used to make bridge appliances.
Appliances called implant bridges are attached to an area below the gum tissue, or the bone.
Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.
Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth's function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.
Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are three common types of crowns that we use in our offices:
All-Porcelain Crowns– This type has the most natural appearance and is the most popular. Made from porcelain with a porcelain lining, it is almost indistinguishable from natural teeth. All-porcelain crowns are metal-free and durable, but capable of chipping if proper care is not taken.
Gold Crowns – Gold crowns are appropriate when appearance is not a top priority and are mostly used on back teeth. They are durable and give a good chewing surface, but look starkly unlike natural teeth.
Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns – Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are both durable and have a very natural appearance when first placed. The metal lining adds strength. However, over time, a dark line may be visible at the gum line as gums recede, revealing the lining’s edge.
A tooth must usually be reduced in size to accommodate a crown. An impression is made of the existing tooth and an impression is made. The impression is sent to a special lab, which manufactures a custom-designed crown. In some cases, a temporary crown is applied until the permanent crown is ready. Permanent crowns are cemented in place.
Caring for your Crowns
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to floss in the area of the crown to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration.
Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.
If you have cracked, decayed or otherwise damaged teeth, please contact us soon or schedule a free consultation to see if crowns are the right solution for you. Allowing already damaged teeth to go untreated may cause further destruction to the surrounding teeth and bone.