A crown encloses the entire surface of a tooth, giving it back its original size, shape and function. Also referred to as a cap, a crown is used to protect a tooth that cannot be helped by other restorations, such as fillings.
Many different materials can be used for crowns, but porcelain crowns are by far the most popular, as their color resembles that of natural teeth. Like most restorations, these types of crowns are very durable over the years, but they will need to be replaced after a while. Porcelain crowns help restore your smile by bringing back the original shape, color and size of your tooth.
Reasons for crowns:
• Broken or fractured teeth
• Cosmetic enhancement
• Decayed teeth
• Fractured fillings
• Large fillings
• Root canals
What is a crown?
Sometimes the surface of a tooth becomes too badly damaged to be fixed with a filling or other dental technique, but the root structure beneath the gums is still strong. In this case, your dentist can cement a crown or “cap” on the old tooth. This crown will completely cover what is left of the existing tooth, and will be sized and shaped just like the original healthy tooth. Crowns are made of different materials, and the circumstances of each patient will determine which material is best.
Why would I need a crown?
Crowns are used when a tooth is too damaged for a filling, when a tooth is badly cracked or broken, when a tooth has become badly worn down. Crowns are a good solution because our dentists can save the healthy structure of the existing tooth and the healthy roots. We just create a totally new tooth surface that is strong and durable and keeps your teeth stable.
Why use a crown instead of a filling?
Fillings are used when there is a spot of decay in an otherwise healthy tooth. But sometimes there is too much damage to the structure of a tooth to even safely hold a filling. If a large percentage of the tooth is damaged, the entire visible surface of the tooth above the gumline can be replaced with a crown.
Why use a crown instead of pulling the tooth?
The roots of your teeth are firmly planted in your gumline, and your teeth affect the way your face looks. A crown rebuilds the tooth to its original size and shape, saving as much of the healthy tooth and root as possible, and preserving the spacing between the remaining teeth. Removed teeth leave gaps that can cause improper bite and change the appearance of your face.
What are the types of dental crowns?
Crowns are distinguished by the materials they are made from. There are typically three types available. Sinking Spring Family Dental can explain which materials make sense for you based upon your individual circumstances because each material has its own advantages.
Gold is an excellent material for crowns because the material is extremely workable and provides an excellent fit between the crown and the existing tooth. Gold requires the least preparation of the existing tooth, keeping more of the original tooth structure than is possible with other methods. There is no possibility of gold crowns chipping, and since they are not as hard as porcelain crowns, they are not as likely to cause wear on other teeth. The downside of gold may be its distinctive appearance. In the back of the mouth, where gold is often used, this may not be an issue. However, when it is visible in your smile, the gold crown will make an obvious contrast with natural teeth.
All Porcelain or All Ceramic Crowns
These crowns offer the advantage of a very natural appearance, and for this reason are often used for front teeth. Porcelain can be created to perfectly match your surrounding teeth, making the crowns almost indistinguishable. This type of crown does require considerable preparation, leaving less of the existing tooth, and it is often challenging for the dentist to get a fit as tight as with a gold crown. Their beautiful, life-like appearance continues to make them a popular choice.
This popular crown type provides an excellent combination of aesthetics and durability. The porcelain is color matched to your existing teeth and fused to a metal base. With a metal center, this type of crown can never match the translucency of a natural tooth or an all porcelain crown, and a thin darker line can develop where it meets the gum. However porcelain-over-metal crowns look very natural and are exceptionally strong and durable.
What is the procedure for placing a crown?
If the tooth is extremely damaged, a root canal may be performed first. Otherwise, we will prepare the tooth by filing it down enough to fit the crown over it and between the adjacent teeth. The filed down tooth will be the base that we cement to the finished crown. We will then take impressions of the tooth and the surrounding teeth which the lab will use as a model for the new crown. Since the lab typically takes two weeks to prepare the permanent crown, we will often insert a temporary crown until the permanent one is ready. On a second visit, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented in.
Instructions will be provided on how to care for your new crown, and regular dental visits will help ensure that it stays in good shape.
How long do crowns last?
Crowns are considered permanent dental restorations, but that does not mean they are expected to last forever. With proper hygiene a dental crown will probably last from ten to fifteen years, but could last much longer.
Dental bridges are permanent dental restorations that are used to replace missing teeth.
As with almost all restorations, there are many types of bridges that you can choose from, though our dentists can help you make the best choice. The most traditional bridge, which consists of porcelain fused to metal, is also the most popular, mainly because porcelain resembles the natural color of teeth. With this type of bridge, two crowns are placed over two anchoring (abutment) teeth, and they are attached to artificial teeth (pontics), thereby filling the gap created by a missing tooth or by missing teeth.
Dental bridges will last for several years, but they might require replacement or need to be re- cemented due to normal wear over time.
Reasons for a fixed bridge:
• Fill space of missing teeth
• Maintain facial shape
• Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
• Restore chewing and speaking ability
• Restore your smile
• Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a false tooth that is fused to one or two crowns. This false tooth, or pontic, is held in its position on the gum by the anchoring crowns next to it.
What kind of bridges are there?
• The traditional fixed bridge is a false tooth fused to two crowns. The crowns fit permanently on the teeth on both sides of the new false tooth, and anchor it in place as a “bridge” over the gum. This dental technique is otherwise similar to regular crown procedure. The fixed bridge offers the most natural fit and appearance.
• The cantilever bridge is a false tooth that is anchored to a tooth or teeth on one side, and not the other. This dental technique is otherwise similar to regular crown procedure. A cantilever bridge does not have the same strength as a traditional fixed bridge and can only be used in areas of less stress, like front teeth.
• The removable bridge is not cemented permanently. It may be available at a lower cost, but will require extra hygiene attention.
What alternatives do I have to a bridge?
A partial denture is a removable appliance that can replace one or more teeth, and dental implants are a permanent alternative for missing teeth. Ask Sinking Spring Family Dental about the advantages of each in your particular situation.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made. This will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally, our dentist may cement the bridge temporarily, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.