What is a crown?
A crown, often called a cap, is an artificial covering for the visible part of your tooth. Crowns are generally made of porcelain or metal alloys. You may need a crown if you have had root canal treatment, have large fillings in a tooth, a broken tooth, or severely stained, misshapen, or misaligned teeth. Most often we prescribe a crown to teeth we believe are very susceptible to fracturing. Teeth that are weakest are those with prior root canal treatment and those with large fillings. Thus, the crown becomes the final restoration to cover and to protect the tooth from further damage. Crowns are extremely durable and generally last for about ten to fifteen years, with good patient and dentist care.
How is a crown made?
We take a preliminary mold of your tooth to prepare a temporary crown. After administering a local freezing, we sculpt and shape your tooth to make room for the crown. Some tooth reduction is required. The process leaves your tooth looking like a smaller version of its original self. A final mold of the remaining tooth structure and the neighboring teeth is taken and sent to the laboratory for fabrication of a custom-fitted crown. A temporary crown is placed over your tooth to protect it between visits while your permanent crown is being made. On your second visit, we replace the temporary crown with the permanent crown, check it for fit, form, shape and color, and cement it in place. The tooth is now stronger than any filling and will function and appear better than any filling.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a fixed restoration that spans a space where one or more teeth have been lost in the dental arch. It is anchored to the neighboring natural teeth on either side of the space. To replace a lost tooth with a bridge, the teeth on either side of the missing one(s) are prepared for crowns as described above. The "false" tooth and the adjacent crowns are constructed and placed in the mouth as one unit that is permanently cemented to your healthy neighboring teeth.
Why is a bridge important?
When a permanent tooth is lost, the neighboring teeth are affected. Because the support and chewing forces are altered, the remaining teeth will begin to shift. The teeth above or below and beside the space will begin to move out of alignment. In other words, the neighboring teeth will drift out of place, which can cause jaw problems and affect your bite. Neighboring teeth can also become more susceptible to decay and gum disease.
Things to consider...
Crowns and bridges can be more expensive than other restorative procedures because of the time and cost of the material involved. Throughout our crown and bridge treatment you may have questions or concerns not covered in this outline. We will make every effort to answer any questions you may have.