What Are They
Crowns are dental restorations once known as “caps” that fit over teeth. Crowns may be necessary because of broken down fillings, fractured, chipped, sensitive or decayed teeth. Crowns are also used to improve the appearance of natural teeth that are crooked, discolored, or missing.
Some indications for a crown are:
- A previously filled tooth where there now exists more filling than tooth. The existing tooth structure has weakened and can no longer support the filling
- Extensive damage by decay
- Discolorations and compromised aesthetics whitening cannot correct
- Root Canal Therapy: After this treatment, teeth become brittle and are more apt to fracture. These teeth need to be protected by a crown
- Bridges: When missing teeth are replaced by a bridge, the adjacent teeth require crowns in order to support replacement teeth
Crowns can be made from different materials, including the full porcelain crown, a porcelain fused-to-metal crown, and the all-metal crown. A decision will be made to which type of material is best before the procedure is performed. This is dependent upon the strength requirements and aesthetic concerns of the tooth involved.
What We Will Do
A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area. If the tooth has been root canaled, no anesthesia is necessary. The tooth will then be contoured so that the crown will fit in with the rest of the teeth.
An impression is taken of this contoured design with a putty-like material. This impression will be sent to an American lab where an experienced dental technician will design the crown to our office’s specifications.
During the time between the initial appointment and the crown’s insertion, a temporary crown made of plastic will be made to fit over the tooth. This temp is made to be eaten with but not with chewy products that can cause the temp to come off.
When the permanent crown is cemented, small adjustments may be made to ensure the bite and fit.
The Benefits Are
Crowns strengthen and protect the remaining tooth structure for years to come. Appearance of the teeth is improved when the color, length and shape are matched to the rest of the teeth. Crowns may be placed on natural teeth or dental implants.
Taking Care of Crowns
To prevent damaging or fracturing crowns or other natural teeth, chewing ice should be avoided, as well as other habits such as pens, pencils, toothpicks, etc. Tooth grinding or clenching should also be avoided. If you know you grind/clench your teeth, this needs to be mentioned to the dentist in order to make sure the proper steps are taken to ensure the quality and longevity of your crown. Sometimes custom bite/nightguards are made to be worn during times of grinding or clenching. Plaque and calculus can still form around these restorations.
Besides visiting your dentist on a regular basis and brushing twice a day, cleaning between these teeth is vital with crowns. Floss or interdental cleaners (specially shaped brushes) are important tools to remove plaque before it becomes hard calculus from the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque in that area can cause dental decay and gum disease.
What Are They
Bridges span an area of a missing tooth and are cemented onto teeth on either side of this space. Bridges are used when implants cannot be placed in this space, either due to excessive bone loss or certain medical conditions. Two porcelain crowns are fused to the adjacent false tooth and is inserted as one unit.
Bridges are used to replace an area of a missing tooth, which fills gaps with natural-looking artifical teeth. This helps minimize chewing and speaking problems, as well as providing overall added function to the mouth.
The Benefits Are
A bridge can improve the way you look, bite, chew and speak since it is custom built. It can last many years if kept clean both professionally and at home.
What We Will Do
A soft, moldable material is used to take impressions of the mouth and bite. The dental technician uses these impressions to pour up plaster models of the teeth and gums. The bite can be re-established outside the mouth with the bite registration.
The teeth on either side of the space will be prepared to support the bridge. These teeth need to be contoured in order for the bridge to fall in line with the rest of the naturally existing teeth and the bite and not be too bulky. A plastic temporary bridge is fitted for the time between this and the insertion appointment.
At the final visit, the bridge will be checked to make sure the fit, color, size, shape, and length are correct and suitable. Minor adjustments may be made before the bridge is cemented in place. Proper hygiene instructions are given at this appointment to prevent food impaction or the development of plaque and calculus.