Receiving crowns or bridges is commonplace. Over time, our teeth can become worn or diseased. Sometimes, an injury can leave us with broken or knocked out teeth. When it comes to ensuring that our patients enjoy optimal oral health, A House Full of Smiles offers restorations and prosthetics to help maintain oral function and quality of life.
Dental crowns are custom restorations that cover an entire tooth’s surface above the gum line. These restorations are also used for replacing the structures of missing teeth by attaching to dental implants. A crown is shaped like a tooth and made specifically for the individual. The dimensions and specifications of a dental crown must be very precise so that these restorations fit over and between teeth properly. Crowns can be fabricated from a few different materials. The most common materials used to make these restorations are metals like gold or silver and porcelain.
Bridges are prosthetics that are fixed in the mouth. They are not removed like dentures are for cleaning or soaking. A bridge is made from dental crowns that are connected to form a custom, fixed prosthetic. The end of each side of a bridge anchors to biological teeth. As the name suggests, this prosthetic bridges the gap between teeth among people affected by tooth loss. After a bridge is placed, patients will have crowns in place of empty tooth sockets. Like single crowns, bridges can be made from metals or porcelain.
How Crowns and Bridges are Placed
Making crowns or bridges is a process that initially begins with an oral examination. If our dentist determines that a crown or bridge is needed, biological teeth being treated are shaped and prepared for the restorations that will attach to them. Once the tooth is prepared, impressions are taken. The specifications for crowns and bridges must be just right. If the dimensions of a crown or bridge’s size are off, they will not fit over and/or between teeth properly. Once the specifications are determined, the crown or bridge will be made in a dental laboratory by a technician from the material(s) that a patient has chosen. After the bridge or crown is made, patients will return to our office for their placement.
Crowns and bridges can improve oral function and quality of life. If you have suffered from dental injuries, severe tooth decay, or tooth loss, call our practice to reserve a consultation with one of our dentists.
Crowns & Bridges FAQs
When is a dental crown recommended?
A dental crown might be recommended for a few reasons. For the most part, dental crowns are used for rebuilding badly damaged teeth. Whether a tooth is worn down, severely decayed, or recently injured, a crown can protect external tooth structure from developing more damage. Many times, placing crowns follows endodontic therapy so that the outside of a tooth is protected from oral bacteria and debris. Dental crowns can be used for cosmetic purposes, too – especially if a tooth is intrinsically stained, chipped, or misshapen.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic made of restorations called dental crowns. A series of connected crowns are used to replace the visible surfaces of teeth. Bridges close in the gaps of a smile affected by tooth loss by attaching to biological teeth on each side. A bridge can replace up to three or four teeth in a row. Bridges, unlike dentures, are fixed. They are not removed for overnight soaking or cleaning. A bridge is brushed along with natural teeth. Some patients choose to use water irrigators when performing oral hygiene. Water irrigators help keep the gums underneath a bridge free of debris.
What is the difference between a crown and a bridge?
A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over a tooth. A bridge is a series of connected dental crowns. Crowns are used for restorative and cosmetic purposes while bridges are used to replace missing tooth structure above the gums. Both bridges and crowns are custom made in dental laboratories. Patients also have options when it comes to the materials used to make crowns and bridges. Common materials for both crowns and bridges include metals, porcelain, and porcelain fused to metal.
How is a tooth prepared for dental crown placement?
In order for a crown to fit properly, the tooth being treated must be prepared. This means that the biting surfaces and sides of a tooth are shaped with dental instruments. Since crowns fit over a tooth, the tooth’s size must be reduced a bit so that the crown doesn’t jut out above other teeth. Before the tooth is shaped, our dentists will anesthetize the tooth and surrounding gingiva with a local analgesic so that patients are comfortable during their procedures. After the area is effectively numbed, patients will only experience slight pressure from dental instruments, not discomfort.