Placement of Crowns and Bridges
A crown is used to completely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. In addition to strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can improve its appearance, shape, or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials, such as precious or non-precious metal alloys, acrylic, and ceramic, are also available. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth.
Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and aesthetic. For a higher aesthetic appearance in the smile area, full porcelain crowns are often recommended as they completely match the natural appearance of the tooth.
Your dentist at ETERNAdent may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth enamel remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured- broken tooth
Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
Bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. If you’re missing teeth, the gaps left can cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift, leading to a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. Bridges can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain or ceramic, which can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
Before a crown or bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.
Using this impression, a dental lab makes your crown or bridge in the material specified by your dentist. While the permanent crown or bridge is being made, a temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.
Determining how long crowns last is hard to determine. Factors of longevity include:
- Material (full gold vs. porcelain fused to metal core, porcelain fused to non metal core and all-porcelain)
- Location (back tooth, front tooth)
- How much tooth remained when prepared for a crown (was there much there? Was it a heroic effort on the dentist to even try to save the tooth?)
- Bite forces (grinder and clencher, no habits)
- Hygiene practices (some people REFUSE to brush their teeth!).
To extend the duration of your crowns/bridges, consult with your dentist of ETERNAdent that will teach you how to performe a proper care for them.