Tooth loss is a common dental complication affecting individuals of all ages. Gaps left by missing teeth can distort your smile. Also, missing teeth contribute to other dental complications like tooth shifting and misalignment. A dental bridge is a restoration used to replace missing teeth. A dental crown, on the other hand, is a cap placed over a damaged tooth to restore its structure.
A dentist can fit a crown above a natural tooth or as part of the dental implant procedure. Unlike removable dentures, crowns and bridges are fixed restorations that do not come off when you speak or chew your food. In addition to strengthening your tooth structure, you can use a dental crown to improve the appearance of your teeth and boost your smile.
Not all individuals with missing or damaged teeth are good candidates for dental bridges and crowns. You must undergo a dental assessment to determine the best tooth restoration. The outcome of a dental procedure can impact not only your smile but also your overall oral health. Therefore, you must consult with a knowledgeable dentist. At Tayani Dental Group, we offer expert general dentistry services for our clients in Fullerton, CA.
What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are caps placed over damaged or broken teeth to restore shape, outlook, and function. Fitting your teeth with dental crowns is one of the most common tooth restoration options. Your dentist could recommend fitting with dental crowns under the following circumstances:
You have undergone a Root Canal
A root canal procedure involves drilling a hole in your tooth enamel to remove the damaged tooth pulp and root. Although the root canal helps prevent further tooth damage or decay, it can weaken the tooth structure and expose it to more bacteria.
Since the molars do most of the chewing work, they are more vulnerable to fracture after a root canal. Even after applying dental filling material, the tooth may require additional support. In this case, your dentist could recommend fitting the tooth with a crown.
You have an Advanced Tooth Cavity
The first treatment option is dental filling when you have a dental cavity. This is because the procedure is simple, fast, and affordable for many people. However, not all levels of damage can be repaired with a filling. In cases where a filling is inadequate to restore the tooth structure, a crown will be recommended. In addition to strengthening the damaged tooth, a dental crown protects the remaining part of your natural tooth.
You have A Fractured or Broken Tooth
You may be a good fit for a dental crown if you have a broken or fractured tooth. Several factors could contribute to tooth fracturing, including:
- Age. Individuals over fifty years old have a weakened tooth structure, increasing the risk of fracture with the slightest pressure.
- Biting hard foods. Chewing on ice or biting on hard foods like nutshells could cause a fracture of your tooth enamel.
- Large dental fillings. When your tooth has a cavity filled with dental filling materials like amalgam, the filling can damage your tooth enamel.
- Teeth grinding. Teeth clenching and grinding can damage teeth and cause a chip or fracture.
- You can break or fracture your tooth due to trauma to your jaw. This could be a result of vigorous contact sports or an auto accident.
Fitting a fractured tooth offers several benefits, including strengthening and avoiding further damage. The severity of your tooth fracture will determine your need for a crown.
You have Stained or Misshapen Teeth
Stained or misshapen teeth can distort your smile and sometimes ruin your self-esteem. Your teeth could be stained by drinking colored drinks like coffee and red wine. Additionally, poor oral hygiene can cause discoloration of the teeth, which is unpleasant. On the other hand, misshapen teeth may be genetic or the result of enamel damage.
Instead of undergoing a whitening procedure, which could cause further damage to the enamel, you can opt for a dental crown to improve the appearance of your teeth. In this case, the crowns mimic the natural color and sharpen your natural teeth.
You have Suffered from Bruxism
Teeth grinding, or bruxism often occurs due to stress and anxiety. When you develop the habit of clenching your teeth, the constant pressure on your tooth enamel will weaken the teeth. After you have received your treatment for bruxism, you will need a dental crown to fix the worn-down teeth and improve your appearance.
You Need a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is a tooth replacement option for individuals who do not want to undergo the surgical process of fitting a dental implant. When you use a dental bridge to fill a missing tooth, the artificial tooth enamel for the missing teeth will be supported by the adjacent teeth using dental crowns.
Dental Crown Materials
Dental crowns are made using different materials. These materials vary in outlook, durability, and cost. Therefore, your dentist will guide you through choosing the right dental crown material depending on the damaged tooth's location, the damage's extent, and your budget for the procedure.
Your dental crowns could be made of any of these materials:
Ceramic or Porcelain
Ceramic crowns are made of a translucent material that mimics your teeth' natural shine and color. Most people opt for this type of crown when the teeth requiring it are visible when they smile. If your dental bridge needs to be supported by your front teeth, this material would be ideal. Additionally, this option is favorable for patients with metal allergies.
Ceramic crowns are appealing to the eye and are strong and durable. However, the material is expensive, and you may need to set aside a huge budget for the procedure.
While zirconia is a relatively new material for making crowns, it has gained popularity. Zirconia is a type of ceramic, and its thin structure helps preserve more of your natural tooth material. This type of dental crown is durable and handles the stress of chewing better than other types of crowns. However, crowns made of this material may appear opaque, which may not be desirable for your front teeth.
The inner part of this type of crown is made of metal, while the outer visible part is made from porcelain. This gives the restoration structure and a pleasant appearance. Using two different materials could make the crown thicker than normal. This means more of your tooth enamel will be removed to ensure comfort. Sometimes, the metal under the porcelain will give the crown a dull look, which may not be desirable for some people.
Dental crowns could be made of metal alloys, with gold being the most common material. Metal crowns are more drake than other types of crowns. However, the prominent color may not be appealing.
Crowns made of resin are cheaper than crowns made from different materials. However, these crowns are more fragile. Mostly, a dentist will use this material to make a temporary crown that protects your tooth as you wait for your permanent restorations to be custom-made.
Process of Fitting Dental Crowns
The process of fitting dental crowns takes at least two visits. Whether you need the crowns to cover your weak teeth or to support a dental bridge, you will need multiple dental visits.
First Dental Visit
During your first dental visit for crown fitting, the dentist will perform the following procedures:
- Dental assessment. Not all individuals are good candidates for dental crowns. Your dentist will assess your oral health and the extent of damage to your teeth before proceeding with the procedure. If you need crowns to support a dental bridge, the dentist must ensure the supporting teeth are strong and healthy.
- Tooth preparation. The level of preparation needed for a tooth before fitting with a crown will depend on the need for the crown. Generally, the dentist will remove part of the tooth enamel to create space for the crown attachment. If your tooth is severely damaged, a filling material may be used to build a structure suitable for crown attachment.
- Dental impressions. After tooth preparation, the dentist will take impressions of the tooth. The impressions could be physical or digital. The impressions are then sent to a dental lab. Your dental crown will be custom-made using the impressions.
- Placement of a temporary crown. Depending on the exact material, making your permanent crown could take a while. While you wait for your permanent crown, the dentist will fit your tooth with a temporary crown for protection.
Second Dental Visit
When your permanent crowns are ready, they will be sent to your dentist’s office, where you go for your second appointment. The dentist will remove and fit your temporary crown during these dental visits. If the crowns fit correctly and you feel comfortable, they can be bonded to the teeth using dental cement.
Overview of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are replacements for one or more missing teeth. Your dentist will recommend this type of restoration when there are strong surrounding teeth to support the bridge. The dental bridge has two main parts, including:
- These are structures used to support the dental bridge. Your dentist will fit crowns on adjacent teeth attached to the bridge for support.
- Pontics are artificial teeth which fill a gap left by a missing tooth.
There are several types of bridges, which vary depending on your goal and preference and they include:
A traditional dental bridge comprises false teeth cemented together onto an abutment. The traditional bridge is applicable when you have strong and healthy natural teeth on each side of your missing tooth. You can have a single or multiple false teeth on this type of bridge.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
Cantilever dental bridges are similar to the traditional bridge. However, the false tooth is supported by a single crown placed on the abutment tooth. Your dentist can recommend this type of dental bridge when you have natural teeth on a single side of the tooth gap.
Maryland Dental Bridge
A Maryland bridge consists of metal wings in the place of crowns for supporting the artificial tooth. Your dentist can use this dental bridge when you have missing front teeth.
This type of dental bridge is supported by dental implants. Instead of anchoring the restoration of natural teeth, it is supported by dental implants. Before attaching the bridge to an implant, the dentist will ensure the implant is completely fused to your jawbone.
The following factors will help determine the kind of bridge to replace your missing teeth:
- Your age. Dentists do not recommend bridges for young children. However, traditional or cantilever bridges could be applicable to younger individuals with many strong teeth.
- The number of missing teeth. Patients with more missing teeth will require as much support as possible for the bridges. Therefore, the cantilever bridge, which uses a single crown for support, may be ineffective.
- Strength of the surrounding teeth. The missing tooth replacements, or Pontics, are supported by an abutment. These abutments are anchored to natural teeth using a crown. When you lack enough natural teeth to support your bridge, your dentist may recommend implant-supported bridges.
- Your personal preference. All types of dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth and prevent the long-lasting impact of tooth loss. The dentist will consider your preference when recommending the right dental bridge.
Indications that You Need a Dental Bridge
You can lose your teeth through extraction, gum disease, or trauma to your jaw. One or more missing teeth will impact your smile and oral health. The gaps left by missing teeth can harbor bacteria that cause tooth decay and other oral health issues. Also, missing teeth can cause shifting of the remaining teeth, which causes bite issues and misalignment. The following circumstances may indicate that you need dental bridges:
- You have gum disease. Gum disease can cause your teeth to loosen up and fall off. While most people consider dental implants, your gums, and jawbone must be completely healthy before undergoing a dental implant procedure. While you wait for your mouth to heal, you can replace the missing teeth with a dental bridge.
- You have diabetes. For diabetic patients who want to replace their missing teeth with dental implants, the slow wound healing rate can cause infection. Therefore, a dental bridge may be the most appropriate tooth restoration for these individuals.
- You have a single missing tooth. If you have one missing tooth or multiple missing teeth at one location, a dental bridge may be a fast and convenient way to replace them. All the implants will be cemented together into an abutment and supported by an implant or the remaining teeth.
Procedure for Fitting Dental Bridges
If your dentist recommends dental bridges for your missing teeth replacement, they will use these steps to fit your dental bridge:
- The first step before having teeth replaced with a dental bridge is a consultation with your dentist. The dentist will examine the health of your surrounding teeth and gums to determine the best course of action.
- Bridge preparation. The dentist will begin by numbing the area around your teeth. They will then remove bacteria and food particles from the missing tooth area. If crowns support your Pontics, the dentist will shape the abutment teeth and take an impression of them. The impressions are sent to the lab for custom-made bridges. At this stage, you can select your desired crown material.
- Cementation. When our permanent bridge is complete, the dentist will cement it to your teeth and polish it for a natural look.
Care for your Dental Bridges and Crowns
If you have undergone a dental bridge or crown fitting, your dentist will give you aftercare tips to maintain the restorations in good condition and ensure that they serve you longer:
- Good oral hygiene. You must maintain good oral hygiene even after dental crowns and bridges. This includes regular brushing and flossing. Your dentist will recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the restorations.
- Regular dental visits. Crowns and bridges are easy and convenient ways to replace and repair teeth. However, these restorations do not last a lifetime. You can increase their lifespan by scheduling regular dental visits. During these visits, your dentist can identify potential crown and bridge complications.
Find Expert Fullerton Dental Services Near Me
Dental crowns and bridges are tooth restorations used by people with missing, weak, or damaged teeth. A dental crown is a cap placed over the natural tooth to mask discoloration or tooth fractures and restore tooth appearance. Additionally, corms can be used with bridges to support missing tooth replacements.
Unlike dental implants, crowns and bridges are a fast, affordable, and less invasive way to fill the missing tooth gaps and restore a good smile. The crowns and bridges are custom-made to mimic your teeth and maintain a natural smile.
Many people fear undergoing dental procedures due to the uncertainty of the outcome. However, the fear is valid because the results of a dental procedure can impact your entire life. Seeking the services of an experienced general dentist for fitting your crowns and bridges is critical to ensuring that your procedure has the desired outcome. If you or a loved one seeks expert dental services in Fullerton, CA, you will benefit from our excellent services at Tayani Dental Group. Call us at 949-741-0795 to book an appointment.