Crowns are restorations that are placed over the prepared tooth. It is usually just one individual tooth. Bridges are a minimum of 3 teeth up to a whole arch! The Bridge uses the two teeth on either side of the space to replace that one missing tooth.
Why would I need a crown?
Crowns are used for many situations. Sometimes, old amalgam fillings have weakened the tooth and caused it to chip or fracture. When this happens it is necessary to prepare the tooth for a crown for strength and durability. Especially if the silver filling covered the majority of the tooth. What is nice about crowns is that the doctor is able to save some healthy tooth structure and root of the tooth. Crowns are placed over this healthy tooth. Some people refer to crowns as “caps” or “covers”.
Why not just pull the tooth?
Firstly, nothing is like having your natural tooth! Secondly, once teeth are extracted they won’t ever come back. Missing teeth can cause other issues. The adjacent teeth can tilt or the opposing teeth (right above) can come down. A crown will allow you to keep your tooth and aid in the chewing process.
Types of Crowns:
- Gold Crowns-Gold crowns are mostly used in the back teeth. They are the strongest material as well as the most expensive. Gold crowns rarely ever chip. The doctor is able to remove the least amount of tooth structure and still get an outstanding result.
- All Porcelain/Ceramic– This type of crown is definitely the most “Esthetically Pleasing”. All porcelain crowns have a very natural look to them. Because of this, the favorite teeth for this material are the front teeth. They do, however, require more tooth preparation.
- Porcelain fused to Metal– “PFM” crowns are used in some cases as an alternative to Gold crowns. They have a metal framework and have porcelain fused to the outside. They are very strong and quite durable. The downside is that over time, some people will have the metal appear at the gumline. The only way to fix this would be to redo the crown.
Crowns are usually a 2-visit process. The longer of the two appointments is the first which is where we prepare the tooth, take an impression for the lab to make the crown, and where an assistant will make a temporary for you while your crown is being made. The 2nd appointment is simply to deliver your crown. Most patients do not need anesthetic and the delivery is a quick procedure.
Maintaining Hygiene appointments is key to making your crown last. At these appointments, the hygienist will check the “margins” of the crown to be sure it is still closed and not collecting any bacteria. With professional and good home care, your crown can last anywhere from 10-15 years.
What are bridges
One option to replace a missing tooth is to crown the adjacent teeth and use them as anchor teeth. The bridge will have a fake tooth, known as a pontic, with all these components we can then bridge the space. Bridges are natural looking and a great option to replace a tooth if you don’t want to have something that comes in & out. The longevity of a bridge is about the same as a crown. Should last a minimum of 10 years, depending on the situation.
Any other option besides a bridge?
Their are two other options to replace missing teeth. One is a partial denture, which is an appliance that comes in & out, and implants. Implants are not removable.