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Dental Crowns

A crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape while strengthening the tooth and improving appearance. Crowns are necessary when the tooth has broken down to the point where a filling won’t be effective. A crown can be used to hold a cracked tooth together to prevent further damage. Crowns are also used to cover and support a tooth with a large filling that doesn’t leave much tooth left, attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking, restore a broken tooth, cover a discolored or misshapen tooth, and cover a dental implant.

What is the procedure like?

Before we put in a crown, we first have to prepare your tooth. In doing this, Dr. Asaf will remove part of the tooth so the crown can fit in snugly yet comfortably. The area around your tooth will then be numbed throughout the procedure by using a local anesthetic. After the tooth is prepared, Dr. Asaf will make an impression of your teeth and gums using a paste or putty which will then be sent to a laboratory so that your crown can be fabricated. The fabrication process can take 1 to 2 weeks. While you are waiting for your crown, a temporary crown will be inserted until your custom crown is created.

What are the different types of dental crowns available?

There are several different methods of crown restoration, each using a different crown material.

Gold crowns, also known as metal crowns, are made entirely of a metal alloy that can contain several elements including but not limited to gold, platinum, palladium, and others. Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. The biggest drawback of metal crowns is the metallic color.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal “PFM” crowns are another option and can be color matched to your adjacent teeth. However, PFM crowns tend to wear down opposing teeth more than metal crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. The largest cosmetic drawback is that the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can create a dark line.

All-resin crowns are the least expensive type of crown. However, they are more prone to chips and fractures than others crowns and tend to wear down over time.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns provide the best natural color of all the crowns. They are the most cosmetically pleasing and are usually used for the front teeth which are more visible.

Are there any risks or problems involved with dental crowns?

If the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it, you may experience increased sensitivity immediately after the procedure. Using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth may be recommended in this case. Pain or sensitivity that occurs from biting down usually means that the crown may be too high on the tooth. If this is the case, call Dr. Asaf and he will be able to fix the problem.

A crown can sometimes become loose when the cement washes out from underneath. This may also allow bacteria to leak in and cause decay. If your crown feels loose, you should contact our office. In worse cases a crown may fall off entirely. You can replace the crown temporarily using dental adhesive or temporary tooth cement that is sold in stores for this specific purpose. If this happens, contact Dr. Asaf immediately so he can walk you through the proper maintenance of your teeth and crown until you are able to see him. The crown may be able to be replaced; if not, a new crown will be made.

Dental Bridges

Bridges are natural-looking replacements for teeth which help maintain facial structure, reduce stress on the jaw and fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented to the existing teeth and do not come out. Removable bridges can be taken out.

Why would I need a bridge?

A dental bridge can be used to:

  • Restore your smile
  • Reduce your risk of gum disease
  • Restore your ability to bite and chew
  • Improve your speech
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position

What are the different types of dental bridges?

There are three main types of bridges:

Traditional bridge

A traditional bridge involves the creation of a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. This is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth, unlike dentures. These are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.

Resin bonded bridge

A resin bonded bridge is primarily used for your front teeth. They are less expensive and best used when the teeth are healthy and do not have any large fillings. The tooth is fused to metal bands that are bonded to the adjacent teeth with a resin, and hidden from view.

Cantilever bridge

A Cantilever bridge is used in areas of your mouth that are under less stress, such as your front teeth. A cantilever bridge is used when there are teeth on only one side of the open space.

What is the procedure like?

The first step in creating a dental bridge is to prepare the teeth adjacent to the bridge. This involves restructuring the adjacent teeth by removing a portion of enamel, allowing room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of your teeth are made, which will be sent to a laboratory in order to fabricate the bridge, pontic, and crowns. This may take up to 3 weeks. While your bridge is being fabricated, you will have a temporary bridge placed to protect your exposed teeth and gums. On your next visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new permanent bridge. Dr. Asaf will make sure the bridge fits properly prior to adhering it to your teeth.

What can I expect after the bridge is put in?

With good oral hygiene, you can expect your bridge to last from 5 to 15 years, sometimes longer. Replacing missing teeth should make eating easier, but until you become accustomed to the bridge, we recommend you eat soft food cut into small pieces. You will also start noticing a difference when you speak, as your speech will become clearer. For a few weeks after the treatment, it is common to experience increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. Also, you must remember to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent build up of bacteria on your teeth and gums.

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