DENTAL CROWNS & BRIDGES
WHAT IS A DENTAL CROWN?
The crown on your tooth is the area just below the gum-line on your top row of teeth, and above the gum-line on your bottom teeth. A dental crown is a cover or cap created to cover this area and addresses a variety of tooth conditions. Teeth that contain damage or are missing entirely may require crowns to restore the appearance of the tooth and smile overall.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL CROWNS
Although there are many reasons crowns are used in dentistry, these are the most common.
- Appearance — Crowns can fill in gaps, brighten teeth, and make them appear straighter or more aligned. Broken teeth can be covered to present a more natural and cohesive smile.
- Support — If a tooth has a very large cavity that encompasses the majority of the tooth, then a crown may need to be applied instead of a traditional filling. The appearance will be much smoother and more natural and the crown strengthens the tooth
TYPES OF DENTAL CROWNS:
- Metal Crowns – Strong, made out of metal alloy. Preserve the tooth structure. Gives tooth metallic color.
- Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal Crowns (PFM) – Can be matched to tooth in color. The porcelain portion can potentially chip or break.
- Resin Crowns – This is the least expensive. Higher chance to chip or fracture compared to any other crown.
- Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns – Provides the most natural look. Not as strong as PFM or Metal crowns. Could wear down other teeth more than Metal or Resin crowns.
Dental porcelain is glass-like ceramic and very strong when bonded to your tooth. Dental porcelain provides a surface hard enough to withstand chewing forces, yet not hard enough to wear down the opposing teeth. Dr. Brandon Smith only offers porcelain crowns at his practice in Hedgesville, WV because he feels they provide superior strength, durability, and appearance.
WHAT IS A DENTAL BRIDGE?
Dental bridges are a row of prosthetics that fill in where missing teeth should be and strengthen the surrounding teeth. This helps to stabilize the patient’s bite and keep teeth from moving out of place. When a single tooth needs to be replaced, a bridge can be used in place of complete implants or dentures.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL BRIDGES
Dental bridges are used to fill in missing teeth and are often combined with crowns. However, they come with their own set of benefits. Bridges can:
- Improve speech
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
- Reduce the risk of gum disease
- Restore the ability to bite and chew
TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES:
- Traditional (Fixed Bridges) – Used for replacing one or more missing teeth. Made out of porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Resin-Bonded Bridges – Primarily for the front teeth. Less expensive. Higher chance to chip or fracture.
- Cantilever Bridges – Recommended for areas in the mouth under minimal stress. Usually placed when the healthy teeth are on one side of the open space.
DENTAL CROWN & BRIDGE PROCEDURE
The dental crown and bridge procedures take place in multiple appointments and are similar in nature. If a patient is receiving a crown or bridge their first appointment will involve reshaping the damaged teeth. During this process patients will have been given a local anesthetic so they do not feel the filing process. The teeth are shaved to allow the crown and bridge to fit on and between the existing teeth. Next, Dr. Smith will take a mold of the area and send it to a lab where they will construct the crown or bridge.
Since this process takes a few weeks patients receive a temporary crown or bridge until the next appointment. This will allow the patient’s teeth and gums to be protected during that time. When the crown or bridge is ready, the patient will return and Dr. Smith will remove the temporary replacement. Finally, the permanent crown or bridge is applied to the tooth, shaved down and shaped to look just like the adjacent teeth.
DENTAL CROWN & BRIDGE BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTO
CARING FOR DENTAL CROWNS & BRIDGES
Care required for dental bridges and crowns is the same as caring for your own teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings are all that is needed. You do need to be attentive, though, because if a tooth with a crown on it decays, it is more prone to cracking and damage due to the weight of the crown.
HOW LONG DO DENTAL CROWNS & BRIDGES LAST?
Dental crowns and bridges typically last from 5 to 15 years depending on the health of your teeth, and how well you take care of them. Weak or damaged teeth will not be able to hold the crown or bridge as well, so it will be on the lower end of the lifespan spectrum. However, if you take good care of your teeth and they are strong to begin with your bridges and crowns should last for years.
DENTAL BRIDGES VS DENTAL IMPLANTS
Dental bridges are a row of prosthetics that fill in where missing teeth should be and strengthen the surrounding teeth. Dental implants are individual artificial teeth that replace missing or damaged teeth. With Dental implants, the tooth is anchored in with an artificial root made out of titanium. Bridges, unlike implants, do not replace the root. The bridge uses the surrounding teeth as support where Dr. Smith can attach a crown that will fill in the missing tooth or teeth.
CROWNS AND ADDITIONAL TREATMENTS
Crowns are often used in conjunction with other treatments. This is done to provide the best overall appearance for the patient and allow Dr. Smith to perform procedures all at once.
- Root canals are often covered with crowns since they have been hollowed out and can crack easily.
- Dental implants are used with crowns to fill in any unnatural gaps between the natural teeth and the implant.
- Porcelain veneers can be used with dental crowns to completely cover imperfections on the front teeth.