Are you missing one or more teeth? If so, you are not alone. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that average adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have three decayed or missing teeth.
The good news is restorative dentistry offers many solutions to replace missing teeth. Dental crowns and bridges are natural-looking restorations that look and function like your natural teeth, leaving you with a perfect, radiant smile!
So what exactly are Dental Crowns and Bridges?
Dental crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that we cement to existing teeth or implants. A crown can be used to entirely cover a fractured, chipped or damaged tooth, a tooth that has undergone tooth canal treatment, one that is severely discolored or misshapen, or for a dental bridge needing an anchor. A bridge, on the other hand, is used to cover a space if you are missing one or more teeth. Bridges are attached to teeth or implants neighboring the missing tooth. Both types of restorations can be color and texture matched to your existing teeth for a natural look.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Crowns and Bridges?
In addition to restoring or strengthening a damaged tooth, crowns and bridges have many cosmetic uses. They can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance, shape, or alignment. Bridges and crowns can also prevent the development of a bad bite (malocclusion) caused by teeth shifting into a gap left by missing teeth. A malocclusion can lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
What Is the Procedure?
Your crown is made to mimic the natural shape and color of your tooth. Crowns on molars can come in different materials that can withstand chewing pressure, the most common of which is porcelain fused to metal. Ceramic or porcelain is the choice material for crowns for your front teeth because of the natural look and cosmetic solution they offer.
Placing your crown typically takes at least two visits. First, we will prepare your tooth for your crown by shaping it into a peglike shape. We will make an impression of your tooth and send it to a laboratory for construction. You will need a temporary crown while waiting for your permanent one. When ready, we will cement your dental restoration onto your prepared tooth.
A bridge, on the other hand, is mounted over the space where your tooth or teeth are missing and is attached to a neighboring tooth or implant. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for your bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is cemented to the crowns covering the abutments. As with dental crowns, bridges can come in different materials. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth, providing a cosmetic solution. Once we cement your bridge into position, it will look, feel, and function just like your natural tooth or teeth.
Types of Bridges
These bridges are the most popular ones. They consist of one or more replacement teeth (pontics) held in place by dental crowns, also known as abutments. Abutments can be either healthy teeth or implants that have been covered by crowns. Fixed bridges need either natural teeth or implants on both sides of the gap created by the missing tooth or teeth.
This is another option for replacing missing teeth. Cantilever bridges are similar to fixed bridges, with the pontic fixed to an abutment on only one side. Because these bridges do not have support on both sides, you may experience complications like fractured teeth or loosened crowns.
These bridges consist of a pontic held in place by a metal or porcelain framework, meaning that the surrounding teeth do not need crowns. This framework is attached to the back of the two teeth neighboring the missing tooth or teeth. This type of bridge is more conservative than the fixed ones, but it does have its downsides. The main disadvantage of a Maryland bridge is that the bonding can loosen over time.
Dental Crowns and Bridges as Cosmetic Solutions
Cosmetic dentistry often involves the use of dental crowns and bridges. A smile makeover entails a comprehensive assessment of your smile aesthetics to improve its overall appearance. A combination of techniques such as dental crowns or bridges, dental veneers, and teeth whitening treatments may be needed for several teeth in your upper and lower arches to achieve the smile you desire.
Caring for Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges will last longer than ten years with the potential of lasting a lifetime. How long your crown or bridge lasts depends on how well you care for it. Make sure to brush and floss daily to keep your teeth and gums healthy. To prevent damage to your crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard or sticky foods, refrain from biting your fingernails and do not use your teeth as tools or bottle openers. Additionally, make sure to keep up with your routine checkups and cleanings so that we can detect and correct any problems before they progress.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Visit us at Westcliff Family Dental to learn more about our dental restorations and how they can work for you. With so many options available, you can be confident that we have a solution for your missing teeth. There is no reason for you to hide anymore. Restoring your perfect smile is only a phone call away!
REQUEST YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY!