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Crowns (CAPS)

Restore Your Smile with Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are long-lasting and durable tooth prosthetics. They can be metal alloy or more natural-looking porcelain. Unlike cosmetic dental treatments, crowns are usually included in dental plan coverage. This makes them a budget-friendly option for tooth restoration.

Dental crowns are designed to strengthen and restore damaged and decayed teeth. Crowns are one of the most commonly used tooth restorations because they are affordable, easy to install and covered (at least partly) by many dental insurance plans.

Why Choose Dental Crowns?

Crowns can be used for a wide variety of purposes.  Dr. Meyers and Dr. Sullivan might recommend a crown for you if:

  • You have a deeply cracked, worn or fractured tooth
  • You have a tooth with a large cavity
  • You are undergoing a root canal
  • You have a tooth that is abnormally small, strangely shaped or very discolored

Dental crowns are often used in conjunction with other restorative dentistry treatments. For example, crowns can anchor a bridge in place on either side of a missing tooth. With dental implants, a porcelain crown is the finishing touch to create a natural looking smile again.

Dental Crowns Procedure Overview

Crowns are fitted as part of a two stage process. During your first visit, your tooth is evaluated using x-rays to determine the amount of damage that needs to be repaired. You will discuss which type of crown you want for your restoration. If you choose a porcelain crown, you will go through a color matching process to pick the right shade to match your surrounding teeth. Your tooth will be prepared by removing a portion of the enamel all the way around and across the top. If the area of decay is significant, a filler material may be used to build up the damaged part of the tooth so it can support a crown.

After this, a mold will be made of the treated tooth as well as the opposing and adjacent teeth. This mold is sent to a dental lab so a custom crown with the correct size, shape and biting surface can be fabricated. You will be fitted with a temporary acrylic crown to cover up the prepared tooth. When your customized crown arrives, it will be bonded to your tooth using a strong dental cement. Any final shaping and polishing will be done at this stage. The goal is to ensure that your restored tooth looks good and is comfortable to use for biting and chewing. Occasionally, patients need a repeat visit to make minor adjustments to the crown.

A local anesthetic is used during both the preparation and installation phases. Any tooth sensitivity after the anesthetic wears off should be temporary. Your crown should feel comfortable and natural when it is properly installed and fitted.

More Information about Dental Crowns

Some crowns are made of porcelain to mimic the appearance of enamel. Others are metal alloys such as gold, nickel or chromium. Patients who want the benefits of a realistic tooth restoration with a strong metal base can choose a crown that is porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM).

Dr. Meyers and Dr. Sullivan offers the following options:

  • Metal crowns (even gold alloy crowns) are often less expensive than porcelain restorations. Gold crowns are typically the simplest to install since the metal is easy to work with. Metal dental crowns are very strong but not hard enough to wear down the opposing tooth during biting and chewing. They don’t look like natural teeth and are most commonly used for restoring molars.
  • Porcelain (ceramic) crowns are slightly translucent and carefully color-matched to look like real teeth. These crowns may be slightly more brittle than metal and can be tough on opposing teeth during chewing. They are most commonly used to restore front teeth.
  • PFM dental crowns offer the long-lasting durability of a metal base with the natural look of a porcelain coating. However, since the porcelain is layered over metal, it will look opaque and slightly less realistic. In addition, the metal base of the crown may be visible along the edge of the crown. This problem will be more noticeable if your gums recede over time.

No matter which material you choose, you will need to take care of your crown for long lasting results. This includes regular brushing and flossing and avoiding foods or habits (like chewing ice) that could damage the restoration.


Dental Bridges Close the Gap in Your Smile

Dental bridges replace missing teeth and teeth that are too badly damaged for crowns or fillings. They help hold remaining teeth in proper alignment and keep natural teeth from bearing too much stress from biting and chewing. This is one of the most common dental procedures for filling a gap in a patient’s smile.

Dental bridges are a commonly recommended treatment for replacing one or more missing teeth with realistic prosthetics. Although adult tooth loss in the U.S. is decreasing overall, a high percentage of people do lose one or more teeth to gum disease, cavities or fracture at some point. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, adults lose an average of one-to-two permanent teeth (not counting wisdom teeth) before the age of 50.

Why Choose Dental Bridges?

Having a gap in your smile can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. But a missing tooth can do more than just impact your looks. Each tooth in your mouth plays an important role in keeping the rest of your teeth in line. When you lose a tooth, the teeth on either side can begin drifting out of alignment. So, even if you lose a back tooth that no one usually sees, you could end up with crooked front teeth unless you have your smile repaired. This type of restoration allows you to bite and chew normally again (with the exception of very hard foods). It can also help correct speech problems associated with missing teeth.

Who is a Candidate for Dental Bridges?

This treatment is designed for patients who have a badly damaged or missing tooth that can’t be restored with a crown or filling. Candidates with good dental hygiene habits are the best candidates. Poor brushing and flossing habits can lead to premature failure of these dental prosthetics due to gum disease and cavities in surrounding teeth. Bridges can be used to restore one, two or three missing teeth in a row. However, some patients with several missing teeth may be better candidates for a partial denture. Patients with a single missing tooth may opt for a dental implant instead of a bridge in some circumstances.

Traditional Dental Bridge

A traditional bridge requires the presence of a healthy tooth on either side of the gap to support the prosthesis. This bridge consists of three crowns that are all attached to each other. The crown in the middle is actually called a “pontic” and is the prosthetic that replaces the missing tooth. The two on either side are regular crowns that fit over existing teeth called the abutment teeth. Porcelain and porcelain fused to metal (PFM) are the most common materials used for these dental bridges.

Treatment Overview for Traditional Dental Bridges

Placement of a dental bridge is a two-stage process. After a consultation, examination and x-rays, the two abutment teeth are prepared. This process involves removing enamel from all four sides and the top of each tooth. This reduction creates enough space to place a crown over each abutment tooth. A mold of the treatment area is created and sent to a dental lab for custom-manufacturing of your bridge. You will wear a temporary bridge until this customized prosthetic arrives.

The second visit involves an in-depth fitting of your permanent bridge. It is adjusted for maximum comfort and function. You may wear the bridge with a temporary adhesive for a while to make sure it fits just right. Then, it will be cemented in place for good. During your fitting, you will receive detailed instructions for cleaning and flossing around the bridge to make sure bacteria and food don’t build up in any small gaps or crevices. A bridge can last for many years with proper care, keeping your smile even and attractive.

More Information about Dental Bridges

Dr. Meyers and Dr. Sullivan performs several other types of dental bridges that may be more suitable for some patients. These include:

Cantilever Dental Bridge

This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. However, it is used when there is no support tooth available on one side of the missing tooth (e.g., with a missing back molar). Instead, two crowns are placed directly next to each other and the pontic is on the end. Some cantilever bridges use only one crown plus the pontic.

Resin Bonded Dental Bridge

This type of bridge uses metal bands and dental bonding resin to attach a pontic to adjacent teeth. The metal bands are positioned on the backside of the support teeth to make them less noticeable. This approach does not require extensive preparation of the adjacent teeth since they do not receive crowns. A resin bonded or “Maryland” bridge is sometimes used for restoring front teeth.

Implant Supported Dental Bridges

Patients with good jaw bone density are often candidates for smile restoration with implant-supported bridges that replace two or more teeth. One or more titanium implants are placed directly in the jawbone where they fuse with the bone during healing. The implants are finished with porcelain crowns for a very natural appearance. This is the sturdiest type of crown since it most closely mimics the performance of a real tooth.


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