Crowns and bridges are common dental restorative treatments that help replace missing or damaged teeth. These treatments not only improve the appearance of the teeth but also restore their functionality. At Washington Dental, we offer a wide range of general dentistry services, including crowns and bridges. We provide top-notch dental care to patients in Carson, ensuring their oral health and enhancing their smiles. Get in touch to explore our dental restoration options.
Understanding Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges are common dental restorations used to address various dental issues, including missing or damaged teeth. They play a crucial role in restoring the functionality and aesthetics of the mouth. Let's discuss dental bridges and crowns in detail, including their uses, types, and benefits.
Also referred to as dental caps, crowns are versatile dental restorations that are used to address various dental issues. They play a crucial role in restoring the functionality, strength, and aesthetics of damaged teeth. Dental crowns are customized to fit over the visible portion of a tooth, providing protection and enhancing its appearance.
Uses of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns serve multiple purposes and can be used in various situations, including:
- Tooth Decay — When a tooth is affected by extensive decay that cannot be adequately restored with a filling, a crown is often recommended. The crown covers the entire tooth, strengthening it and protecting it from further decay.
- Fractured or Damaged Teeth — Cracked, chipped, or fractured teeth can be restored with crowns. The crown acts as a protective layer, preventing further damage and providing structural support to the tooth.
- Root Canal Treatment — Following a root canal procedure, the tooth becomes more fragile and susceptible to fractures. Placing a crown over the treated tooth helps protect it and restore its strength.
- Tooth Discoloration or Misshapen Teeth — Dental crowns are an effective solution for teeth with severe discoloration, intrinsic stains, or irregular shapes. They can be used to improve the appearance and create a more harmonious smile.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are several forms of crowns each with different advantages. The most common types include:
- Porcelain Crowns — They are common because of their excellent aesthetics. They can match the color of adjacent teeth, creating a seamless and natural-looking smile. This type is ideal for restoring any visible teeth.
- Metal Crowns — They are typically made from gold alloy, platinum alloy, or base metal alloys. They are popular for their durability and strength, making them more appropriate for teeth that bear significant chewing forces. However, their appearance may be less attractive for visible teeth.
- Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns — They combine metal strength with porcelain’s natural appearance. They contain a metallic substructure for strength, with a porcelain outer layer to resemble the color of adjacent teeth. These crowns offer both durability and aesthetics.
- All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns — They are made of porcelain, or ceramic material, providing excellent aesthetics as well as a metal-free option. They are a common choice for patients allergic to metals or those seeking highly aesthetic restorations.
Dental Crown Placement Process
The process of getting a dental crown involves the following steps:
Examination and Preparation
The dentist performs a thorough examination to assess the tooth's condition and determine if a crown is necessary. The tooth is prepared by removing any decay or damaged portions. An impression or digital scan of the tooth is taken to create a custom crown that fits precisely.
While the permanent crown is being fabricated in a dental laboratory, a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth. The temporary crown protects the tooth and maintains its function and appearance until the permanent crown is ready.
Once the permanent crown is ready, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is placed over the tooth. The dentist checks the fit, alignment, and bite to ensure optimal functionality. The crown is then permanently bonded to the tooth using dental cement.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns offer various benefits, including:
Strengthening and Protection
Crowns offer a protective layer, preventing more damage to weakened or damaged teeth. They restore the tooth's strength and integrity, allowing for normal biting and chewing functions.
Crowns can significantly improve the teeth’s appearance. Whether it's to cover severe discoloration, reshape a misshapen tooth, or close gaps, crowns can enhance the overall aesthetics of a smile.
Durability and Longevity
With good oral hygiene practices, dental crowns are likely to last for several years. They are designed to withstand the forces of normal chewing and maintain their function and appearance over time.
Comfort and Functionality
Dental crowns are custom-made to fit the patient's mouth comfortably. They restore the natural bite and chewing function, allowing for improved overall oral function.
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Dental crowns can have a significant impact on a person's self-confidence. By improving the appearance of damaged or unsightly teeth, crowns can help individuals feel more confident about their smiles and overall appearance.
Aftercare and Maintenance of Crowns
After getting dental crowns, it is essential to maintain proper oral hygiene and take necessary precautions to ensure the longevity and health of the crowns. Here are some aftercare tips and maintenance guidelines to follow:
- Brushing — Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush. Use gentle circular motions to clean the crown and surrounding teeth.
- Flossing — Floss daily to remove plaque and debris from between the teeth and along the gumline. Slide the floss gently in a sawing motion to avoid dislodging the crown.
- Mouthwash — Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce bacteria and maintain oral hygiene.
Avoid Hard and Sticky Foods
- Avoid chewing on hard objects like ice, hard candy, or pencils, as they can cause damage to the crowns.
- Steer clear of sticky or chewy foods that may pull on the crowns, such as caramel, taffy, or chewing gum.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. This allows the dentist to monitor the condition of the crowns and address any potential issues early on.
- During dental appointments, the dentist may conduct a thorough examination, clean the crowns, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.
If you engage in activities that may pose a risk to your teeth, such as contact sports, consider wearing a mouth guard. A custom-fitted mouthguard can help protect your crowns from potential trauma or damage.
Avoid Teeth Grinding and Clenching
If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, known as bruxism, discuss it with your dentist. They may recommend a custom-made night guard to protect your crowns and teeth while you sleep.
Watch for Signs of Problems
Watch out for any signs of potential issues with your crowns, such as sensitivity, pain, or a change in fit. If you notice any problems, contact your dentist promptly for an evaluation.
Regular Cleaning of Crowns
While dental crowns are not susceptible to decay, the underlying tooth and gum tissue can still be affected. Make sure to clean around and underneath the crowns to prevent gum disease and maintain overall oral health.
Avoid Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact the health of your gums and increase the risk of complications with dental crowns. Quit smoking and drink alcohol in moderation for better oral health.
A dental bridge is a dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth. It "bridges" the gap between natural teeth, creating a complete and functional smile. Dental bridges help maintain proper dental alignment and improve oral functionality.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are several types of dental bridges, and the choice depends on various factors, including the location of the missing teeth, the condition of the adjacent teeth, and the patient's preferences. The most common types of dental bridges include:
- Traditional Fixed Bridge — This is the most common type of dental bridge. It consists of artificial teeth, which are held in place by dental crowns placed on the adjacent teeth. The crowns are cemented onto the natural teeth on either side of the gap, anchoring the bridge securely in place.
- Cantilever Bridge — A cantilever bridge is used when there is only one adjacent tooth available to support the bridge. The pontic is attached to a dental crown on a single natural tooth, providing stability and support.
- Maryland Bridge — Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, the Maryland bridge is a conservative option that involves attaching the pontic to the adjacent teeth using metal or porcelain wings. This type of bridge is suitable for replacing missing front teeth or areas with low biting forces.
- Implant-Supported Bridge — In cases where multiple teeth are missing consecutively, an implant-supported bridge may be recommended. Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, and the bridge is securely attached to the implants, providing excellent stability and function.
Dental Bridge Placement Process
Getting a dental bridge typically involves the following steps:
Examination and Treatment Planning
The dentist evaluates the patient's oral health and determines if a dental bridge is the appropriate treatment option. X-rays and impressions are taken to assess the condition of the missing teeth, adjacent teeth, and underlying bone structure. A treatment plan is then developed based on the patient's unique needs.
Preparation of Abutment Teeth
The abutment teeth, which are the natural teeth adjacent to the gap, are prepared to accommodate dental crowns. A portion of the enamel is removed from these teeth to make way for the crown to fit over them. Impressions are taken to create custom crowns that will hold the pontic in place.
Temporary Bridge Placement
While the permanent bridge is being fabricated in a laboratory, a temporary bridge is put in to shield the teeth and maintain the patient's ability to eat and speak comfortably.
Bridge Fitting and Placement
Once the permanent bridge is set, the temporary bridge is removed, then the new bridge is checked for fit, bite alignment, and aesthetics. The dentist makes any necessary adjustments before permanently cementing the bridge in place.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges offer numerous benefits, including:
Bridges fill the gap created by missing teeth, restoring the ability to chew and speak properly. They distribute the biting forces evenly, preventing strain on the remaining natural teeth.
Dental bridges enhance the appearance of the smile by filling in gaps and restoring a complete set of teeth. They provide a natural-looking and seamless result, improving self-confidence.
Maintenance of Dental Alignment
When a tooth is missing, adjacent teeth may shift or rotate into the space, causing bite problems and misalignment. Bridges help prevent these issues by filling the gap and maintaining proper dental alignment.
Preservation of Facial Structure
Missing teeth can lead to sagging facial muscles, giving a prematurely aged appearance. Bridges help support the facial structure, maintaining a youthful and full appearance.
With proper care and regular dental visits, dental bridges can last for many years, providing a durable and reliable solution for tooth replacement.
Care and Maintenance of Dental Bridges
Taking care of your dental bridge is essential for its longevity and continued oral health. Below are some essential tips for the care and maintenance of dental bridges:
- Brushing — Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush. Pay extra attention to areas around the bridge, including the abutment teeth and the gum line.
- Flossing — Floss daily using brushes designed for cleaning around bridges. This helps remove plaque and debris that can accumulate in areas that are hard to reach.
- Mouthwash — Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce bacteria and maintain oral hygiene.
- Avoid applying excessive pressure when brushing around the bridge to prevent damage or dislodging.
- Use a gentle back-and-forth motion when flossing, taking care not to pull on the bridge. Slide the floss or threader carefully under the bridge and clean along the gumline.
- Maintain a balanced diet, as they can contribute to plaque buildup and decay around the bridge.
- Avoid chewing on hard or sticky foods that can place unnecessary stress on the bridge, potentially causing damage or dislodgement.
Regular Dental Check-ups
- Visit your dentist for professional cleanings and check-ups. During these visits, your dentist will examine the state of your dental bridge and ensure that it is functioning properly.
- Professional cleanings help remove any plaque or tartar buildup that can accumulate around the bridge, contributing to gum disease or decay.
If you participate in activities that may pose a risk to your dental bridge, such as contact sports, consider wearing a mouth guard for added protection.
Avoid Teeth Grinding
If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism), inform your dentist. They may suggest a custom-made night guard to prevent your dental bridge from excessive pressure and potential damage.
Monitor for Issues
Pay attention to any changes in the fit, comfort, or appearance of your dental bridge. If you see signs of damage, sensitivity, or a loose bridge, contact your dentist promptly for an evaluation and necessary repairs.
Maintain Overall Oral Health
- Keep the rest of your mouth healthy by practicing proper oral hygiene for all your teeth, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.
- Healthy gums and remaining natural teeth provide a stable foundation for your dental bridge.
Aesthetic Considerations with Crowns and Bridges
When it comes to dental crowns and bridges, aesthetics play a significant role in achieving a natural-looking and harmonious smile. Here are some key aesthetic considerations to keep in mind when discussing crowns and bridges with your dentist:
Dental restorations should closely match the color of your natural teeth to create a seamless blend. Your dentist will carefully select the shade of the crown or bridge to ensure it matches the surrounding teeth in terms of color, translucency, and opacity.
Shape and Size
The shape and size of the dental crown or bridge should be designed to complement your facial features and overall smile. The restorations should be customized to mimic the natural contours and proportions of your teeth, ensuring a harmonious and balanced appearance.
Tooth Alignment and Position
Dental crowns and bridges should be aligned properly with the adjacent teeth to ensure a symmetrical and aligned smile. The restorations should not appear crooked or misaligned with the surrounding teeth.
Tooth Proportions and Golden Proportion
The golden proportion is a concept in dentistry that refers to the ideal ratio and proportions of teeth, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing smile. Your dentist will consider this concept when designing and placing dental crowns and bridges to create a balanced and attractive smile.
Texture and Surface Characteristics
Natural teeth have a certain level of texture and surface characteristics. Dental crowns and bridges should be crafted with attention to detail, replicating the natural texture and shine of your teeth. This helps them blend seamlessly with the rest of your dentition.
Translucency and Opacity
Teeth have varying degrees of translucency and opacity, which contribute to their natural appearance. A skilled dentist will consider the translucency and opacity of your natural teeth when selecting materials for your crowns and bridges to ensure they mimic the natural tooth structure.
Gum Tissue Integration
Dental crowns and bridges should integrate well with the gum tissue surrounding them. The margin where the restoration meets the gum line should be carefully crafted to achieve a natural-looking gum contour and avoid any visible gaps or discrepancies.
Over time, natural teeth and dental restorations may experience wear and discoloration. It is important to discuss long-term esthetics with your dentist to understand how the crowns and bridges may age and what maintenance or touch-ups may be necessary to maintain their appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crowns and Bridges
Below are frequently asked questions about crowns and bridges
How Long Do Dental Crowns and Bridges Last?
With proper care and maintenance, dental crowns and bridges can last for many years, typically ranging from 5 to 15 years or more. However, their lifespan can vary depending on factors such as oral hygiene practices, wear and tear, and the materials used.
Are Dental Crowns and Bridges Painful to Get?
The process of getting dental crowns and bridges is generally not painful. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area, ensuring a comfortable experience during tooth preparation and placement. Some patients may experience mild sensitivity or discomfort after the procedure, which usually subsides within a few days.
Can Dental Crowns and Bridges be Whitened?
Dental crowns and bridges are resistant to teeth whitening treatments. While natural teeth can be whitened, the color of dental restorations, including crowns and bridges, remains stable. If you are considering teeth whitening, it is best to discuss your options with your dentist to ensure a consistent and uniform appearance.
Can Dental Crowns and Bridges be Repaired if Damaged?
In some cases, dental crowns and bridges can be repaired if they are chipped, cracked, or damaged. The extent of the damage will determine whether a repair is possible or if a replacement is necessary. It is important to consult with your dentist if you suspect any damage to your crowns or bridges.
Can Dental Crowns and Bridges be Removed?
Dental crowns and bridges are designed to be permanently fixed in place. They are cemented onto natural teeth or dental implants and cannot be easily removed by patients. If there is a need to remove or replace a crown or bridge, it must be done by a dental professional.
Are Dental Crowns and Bridges Covered by Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance coverage for crowns and bridges varies depending on the individual insurance plan. Some plans may provide partial coverage, while others may have specific limitations or waiting periods. It is important to review your insurance policy and consult with your dentist to determine your coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses.
Find a Dentist Near Me
Whether you require a dental crown to restore a damaged tooth or a bridge to replace missing teeth, Washington Dental in Carson is here for you. Contact our office today at 310-217-1507 to schedule a consultation and explore the options available to meet your specific dental needs.