Dental Crowns & Bridges
An effective way to fill in spaces in your smile, bridges, and crowns can also help keep your surrounding teeth from drifting.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is made from porcelain and covers the entire visible portion of the tooth. Formerly called “caps,” it’s easy to think of crowns as a cap over a damaged tooth. Sometimes if a tooth is cracked, chipped, or has had serious decay, the tooth will probably not survive if left as is. At Royal Dental, we place a porcelain crown over the damaged tooth. This returns strength to the damaged tooth. Crowns can also cover misshapen teeth or fill in gaps between uneven teeth. They also act as the anchors for bridges.
What Problems Can a Crown Correct?
At Royal Dental, we use crowns on teeth with a variety of problems including:
- Chipped teeth
- Severely worn teeth
- Teeth with very large fillings
- Heavily decayed teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Severely discolored teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth on both sides of a bridge
The Dental Crown Procedure
To place a crown, your dentist must reduce 1-2 mm of the tooth’s surface to make room for it. Your dentist will then use a piece of thread or cord or use a laser to push the gum down around the tooth, to take an impression of the tooth. The impressions are sent to the lab where the crown is made. During that time, you will be given a temporary crown.
Temporary crowns are usually made of plastic and are made in your dentist’s office on the day of your visit. They are not meant to last. If a temporary crown is left in the mouth, the cement eventually washes out and the tooth can decay.
At a second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and test the permanent one. Sometimes crowns need additional polishing, or glaze or some other adjustment before they are placed. Once the crown is ready, it’s cemented to your tooth where it looks and functions much like a natural tooth.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
The lifespan of a crown is somewhat dependent upon you. If you are diligent in your home hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly, your crown should last many years. Most insurance companies will allow replacement of a crown once year 5 years.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is just that, a bridge spanning a gap in your teeth. A bridge has three parts: two crowns and an artificial tooth (teeth). The two crowns are placed on the teeth on each side of the missing tooth (teeth). These teeth are called the abutment teeth. A false tooth (teeth), called a pontic, replaces the missing tooth (teeth) Bridges are usually a single piece and are permanently cemented into place with the crowns on both abutment teeth.
The Dental Bridge Procedure
Like a crown, placing a bridge requires two appointments. We first prepare the two abutment teeth for their crowns, as described above. We then take impressions and shade selection and send them to the lab to make your bridge.
When it is finished, you return and we test the fit and shade match. Sometimes we will place your new bridge with temporary cement to allow you to test the fit during normal use for a few days before we cement it into place permanently.
How Long Do Bridges Last?
Dental bridges can last for many years if you are diligent with your home hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly. Usually, the determinant of the life of a bridge is the health of the two abutment teeth. If you take good care of them, your bridge can have a long life.
What Happens If I Damage My Bridge or My Crown Comes Off?
If your bridge breaks, or if a crown comes off, the first step is to find any parts or crowns and keep them. It helps to replace the crown with temporary dental cement you can buy at your local pharmacy. Then come see us as soon as possible. If the cement has failed, replacing your bridge or crown is simple.
What Materials Are Crowns and Bridges Made Of?
Crowns are constructed of all-porcelain material, and bridges may be constructed of all-porcelain, the traditional porcelain, and metal materials or even other new options. The structure part of the bridge is created with a strong metal alloy that can handle the anticipated stresses of biting and chewing.
Are There Alternatives to Crowns and Bridges?
Dental implants are the alternative for a crowned tooth. Dental implants consist of a titanium anchor that is screwed into the former tooth root socket and is integrated into the jawbone permanently. A crown is then attached to the titanium implant. Implants function exactly like a natural tooth. Implants can be used to replace a badly damaged tooth after extraction. They can replace a few teeth but aren’t practical for replacing numerous teeth. In these cases, we recommend using implants to anchor more elaborate prosthetics, such as full or partial dentures.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Crowns or Bridges?
The only risk associated with a crown or a dental bridge is not receiving one soon after severe decay or losing a tooth. Delay in receiving a dental crown can lead to greater tooth decay and the eventual need for tooth extraction. Without a dental bridge your jaw line or gums may suffer, speech may become slurred and other healthy teeth may shift or become damaged. Bridges and crowns are important ways to maintain overall dental health.