Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges restore damaged teeth or replace teeth that you lost because of decay, trauma, or gum disease. Crown and bridge treatment help you maintain optimum dental health.
What Is the Purpose of a Dental Crown or “Cap”?
A dental crown covers a tooth that has developed deep decay, is broken or fractured, or that has had a root canal. Dental crowns can also correct the appearance of an irregular-looking tooth or protect a tooth that feels sensitive because of excessive wear and exposed dentin.
What Is a Dental Bridge and Why Are Crowns Involved?
A dental bridge literally “bridges the gap” in the smile and replaces one or more missing teeth. For example, when you lose a tooth, a bridge can be suspended in place by crowning the teeth on either side of the space.
Partial dentures can also be used to replace missing teeth, but you may prefer a dental bridge because they are more secure, require less maintenance, and will feel more like your natural teeth. If you have multiple missing teeth in a row, you can opt for a dental implant supported bridge for added stability.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
- Restores the bite and chewing function
- Reduces the load that your other teeth take on
- Keeps teeth from moving
- Prevents teeth from drifting and exposing roots
- Reduces the progression of decay and periodontal disease
- Improves your smile, speech, and chewing
How Is the Treatment Performed?
Once you and your dentists have agreed that a crown and bridge treatment is right for you, we will schedule a series of appointments. The first appointment, your dentist will get you numb and comfortable before starting.
Next, your dentist will carefully reshape the tooth for proper fit and appearance. Finally, your dentist will make an impression of the area and make you a temporary crown to wear until your next appointment.
At the next appointment, your dentist may not numb you unless you want to. The temporary crown is removed and the prepared tooth cleaned with a paste before evaluating the fit of your new crown. We will make adjustments if necessary.
Other factors you and your dentist will consider at this time include:
- Make sure you are satisfied with the color match and appearance
- Make sure your bite is accurate and not high
- Make sure the contour of the crown is compatible with your soft tissues
Once you are happy with everything, your dentist will use a permanent dental cement to secure the crown or bridge.
How Do I Care for My Crown and Bridge?
Take care of your crown and bridge as you would any of your other teeth you wish to keep. The crown and bridge will not develop a cavity but remember that you have a healthy, yet susceptible, tooth structure under your crown.
In fact, brushing in the morning and brushing and flossing at night right before getting into bed is even more important now to keep your crowned tooth healthy. Also, remember to keep regular dental checkups so that your hygienist and dentist can prevent smaller problems from becoming bigger problems.
How Long Do Crowns and Bridges Last?
The materials that are used today to fabricate crowns and bridges are durable and long-lasting. Crowns and bridges can stay in great shape and can last for 10 or more years as long as you properly care for them with regular brushing and flossing and routine trips to your dentist.
Here is an interesting fact for you: The number one reason why we have to redo a crown or bridge is that there is decay underneath the crown or bridge, so please brush and floss.
A Final Word from Dr. Trung Phan
Throughout your crown and bridge procedure, you may have questions that are not covered above. We will make sure to answer all of your questions and make sure you are comfortable during your crown and bridge treatment. We love getting questions from our patients! Our goal is to help you preserve your natural smile for a lifetime because your smile is your best asset!