Many patients think dental decay or tooth loss is a part of life. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. But if you do suffer from a damaged or missing tooth, don’t delay. Doctor can help you restore your smile with a dental crown and bridge.
Dental crowns and bridges will make a noticeable difference in your life.
Wearing a dental crown or bridge is more than aesthetics. Other areas of your life, such as eating and speaking, feel the effect as well.
What are dental crowns and bridges?
Dental crowns are tooth shaped caps used to restore the shape, size and strength of a damaged tooth. Tooth damage or decay can weaken your tooth’s structure. This makes it prone to further damage. To correct this, doctor can cap the tooth with a replacement crown to strengthen and protect it.
Bridges are replacement teeth attached to a pink acrylic gum. How the bridge fits depends on the type of bridge you have. There are two kinds of dental bridges:
- Removable – A removable dental bridge attaches to abutting teeth on either side with metal clips.
- Fixed – Fixed bridges cement in place.
What are crowns and bridges made of?
Dental labs create crowns and bridges from a variety of materials. Some options include:
- Metals, such as gold, palladium, nickel or chromium all make great choices. These restorations rarely crack, chip or break, and last the longest. Due to their color, they are often used on back molars for added strength for heavy chewing surfaces.
- Porcelain fused to metal are another good choice. They can match the shade of existing teeth with the strength of metal. But, the color of the metal can show through in the form of a dark line along the gum line. Also, porcelain can chip or damage under heavy wear.
- All Resin. These cost-effective dental crowns can match the color of neighboring teeth. Made of a plastic and glass material, all resin crowns are a great option if you are on a budget. While they are a durable option, they have the shortest lifespan of all crown materials. All-resin often provides a temporary solution while you wait for permanent crowns or bridges.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain. Like all-resin restorations, these materials blend in with your natural teeth, but with added strength. This is an especially good choice for patients who are allergic to metal alloys. They also make a great choice for prominent teeth.
- Pressed ceramic crowns. These have a hard inner core and are longer-lasting solution that blends in with natural teeth.
When would I need dental crowns or bridges?
Dentist often recommends dental crowns or bridges as a way to:
- Strengthen larger restorations
- Repair a decayed tooth
- Keep a tooth from breaking further
- Replace a crown with severe wear and tear
- Cover misshapen or discolored teeth
- Complete a dental implant
- Finish an extensive root canal treatment
- Replace a filling
What is the procedure like?
The process for both crowns and bridges is similar. It usually requires two separate appointments. During the first, doctor performs an evaluation of your teeth and oral health. He may take X-rays of your teeth. From there, it depends on your situation. If dental damage is extensive, you may first need a root canal or tooth extraction. When it is time to prep the tooth for a crown, doctor will reshape the tooth to make room for it. You will receive an anesthetic to numb the area first.
If you need a bridge, doctor prepares the teeth on either side of the gap. After reshaping, he takes an impression of the treatment area to send to a dental lab. You might receive a temporary restoration while you wait for your permanent bridge.
During the second appointment, doctor removes any temporary restorations. He will test the final restoration before cementing it in place.
How long do these restorations last?
A well cared for dental crown or bridge can last five or more years, depending on the material selected.
How do I care for my dental crown or bridge?
Taking care of your dental crown or bridge is easy. Clean them as you would your natural teeth. That means brushing them for two minutes twice daily and floss at least once daily. Regular dental checkups will ensure your oral health and that of your dental restoration. Finally, avoid or limit habits that can damage your teeth and dental restorations.