Dental Bridges and Crowns

The use of dental bridges and crowns is among the many techniques used in Restorative Dentistry. Restorative Dentistry is a branch of dentistry concerned with the replacement and restoration of missing or damaged teeth. The goal is not only to improve the patient’s smile but also to prevent several oral and dental problems from occurring in the absence of treatment. Dental restoration protects the rest of the teeth in your jaw by keeping them from migrating into the space of missing teeth and becoming loosened or misshapen. A good smile also has a great psychological impact, improving your self-esteem and confidence.

What Are Dental Bridges?

A dental bridge is a fixed dental restoration (a fixed dental prosthesis) used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth definitively to adjacent teeth or dental implants. Dental bridges are of different types. These are classified according to durability, material, and design.

The durability of dental bridges can either be temporary (also known as “provisional” or “interim’”) or permanent.

The material of dental bridges can be made out of 1) a metallic base that includes metal alloys or noble metal; or 2) a non-metallic base that is resin veneered, a fiber-reinforced composite, porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or ceramics.

The design of dental bridges refers to the different types available including conventional dental bridges, Maryland dental bridges (adhesive bridges), cantilever bridges, or implant supported bridges.

What Are Dental Crowns?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth that has been damaged. This is done in order to cover the damaged tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. When cemented into place, crowns encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

What are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges provide many benefits to patients including:

  • Restoring a natural smile
  • Restoring the natural ability to chew
  • Enhancing communication
  • Recovering form of teeth and hence, face and facial features will also remain in proper form.

What are the Benefits of Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns offer many benefits to patients including:

  • Protect a weak tooth from breaking
  • Hold together parts of a cracked tooth
  • Restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
  • Cover and support a tooth with a large filling
  • Hold a dental bridge in place
  • Cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Make a cosmetic modification
  • Restore the ability to chew and speak properly
  • Maintain the shape of your face
  • Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position

Can Children have Dental Crowns?

For children, a crown may be used on primary (baby) teeth in order to save a tooth that has been so damaged by decay that it can’t support a filling; to protect the teeth of a child at high risk for tooth decay, especially when a child has difficulty keeping up with daily oral hygiene; and to decrease the frequency of general anesthesia for children unable to cooperate with requirements of proper dental care because of age, behavior, or medical history.

What can you Expect During a Consultation for a Dental Bridge?

During your consultation, your dentist will go over your medical and dental history with you and then examine your mouth and the area being considered for bridgework.  X-rays may also be taken as well as a cast of your teeth.  

Following this exam, your dentist will assess whether or not the teeth that would hold the bridge would need some work prior to the bridge being made.  For example, some patients may need a root canal on one of the teeth before the bridge is started. 

Once any foundation work has been completed, your dentist will schedule you for an appointment for bridgework. 

What is Involved in Getting a Dental Bridge?

Your dental restoration, a dental bridge, involves the following steps:

  • Local anesthesia is administered around the teeth.
  • When the area is numb, the teeth are reshaped (filed down) to the required size to make space for the bridge. Depending on the size of the bridge, this could take up to an hour to do.
  • Your dentist uses CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design/manufacturing technology) to make your bridge from a block of ceramic. The machine actually makes this into a bridge using a scan of the filed teeth and the gap between. 
  • The bridge is then fitted–all this carried out in one dental visit.

What can you Expect During a Consultation for a Dental Crown?

During your consultation for a dental crown, your dentist will go over your medical and dental history with you and then examine your mouth and the area being considered for a crown. 

Your dentist may take a few X-rays to check the root of the tooth and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp, your dentist may recommend that you have a root canal done first.

What Is the Process of Getting A Dental Crown?

If you are interested in CEREC – Same-Day Crowns, check out the process here.

How Do I Care for My Dental Bridges or Crowns?

While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your bridge or crown is to practice good oral hygiene.

  •  Keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily.
  • See your dentist or hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
  • To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods and ice.

How Long Do These Last?

Dental bridges and crowns can last about 15 years if you take proper care of them.

If you are interested in same-day crowns or bridges, call Burlingame Dental Arts today at (503) 246-8447 to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists.