A crown is a restoration that covers the entire surface of the tooth. It restores the tooth to is original size and shape. When other filling options are not adequate a crown provides the strength a tooth needs to function.
There are several types of crowns. All porcelain and porcelain fused to metal are the most popular. Depending on the tooth that needs to be restored the appropriate type of crown is chosen. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced.
Reasons for crowns:
- Teeth that are broken or fractured.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth compromising the tooth structure.
- Fractured fillings.
- Teeth that have had root canal therapy.
What does getting a crown involve?
A crown procedure requires two appointments. At your first appointment the tooth will be anesthetized if necessary. An initial dental impression will be taken. This will be used to fabricate a temporary crown as well as taking a highly accurate mold that will be used to create your custom crown. The final impression is sent to a laboratory where the crown will be fabricated and returned in two weeks.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface. Using the initial impression a temporary crown is made and then a final impression is taken. Finally the temporary is cemented in place.
At your second appointment the temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully fitted to ensure the contacts and bite are accurate.
A dental bridge can either be fixed or removable. A fixed bridge is cemented to natural teeth adjacent to a missing tooth.
There are several materials a fixed bridge can be made of. Traditionally bridges were porcelain fused to metal. Newer bridges can be made of all porcelain. All fixed bridge use natural teeth (abutments) that are prepared for crowns. Pontics (missing teeth) are attached to the abutments filling the open area.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.
Reasons for a fixed bridge:
- Fill in space of missing teeth.
- Prevent adjacent and opposing teeth from drifting out of position.
- Restore or improve your smile.
- Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?
At the first visit all teeth involved in the bridge will be anesthetized. An initial impression will be taken. It is used for both fabricating a temporary bridge and as a custom tray for the final impression. The abutment teeth will then be prepared, a temporary bridge fabricated, and final impression taken. This impression is sent to a laboratory to fabricate the bridge.
At the second visit the temporary bridge is removed and the abutment teeth are cleaned. The bridge is fit and the contacts and bite are checked. Most times the permanent bridge is temporarily cemented to confirm proper adaptation of the pontic area. The bridge will be cemented in a couple of weeks time.