Dental Crowns & Bridges
Over time, teeth can become damaged or lost. The discomfort of losing a tooth can make eating more difficult and make people feel less confident when speaking.
Thankfully, there are procedures in place that offer patients options when it comes to replacing their missing teeth or correcting uncomfortable damage. Restorative treatments include prosthetic teeth through crowns and bridges. As permanent options, crowns and bridges can serve the place of natural teeth. At Ricardo Chavez, DDS, we perform dental crowns and bridges with the goal of leaving patients feeling comfortable, confident, and healthy.
What are Dental Crowns and Bridges?
Dental crowns and bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike dentures, which are removable, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth. They can only be removed by a dentist.
Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are necessary for several reasons. One of the most common is to restore a broken tooth or replace a missing one.
Other reasons include:
- To protect a weak tooth with decay from breaking
- Holding together a cracked tooth
- Restoring a broken tooth
- Restoring a tooth that is severely worn down
- As a cosmetic modification
- To support a tooth with a large filling
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To correct discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
The Process of Receiving a Crown
Getting a crown typically takes two office visits. The first appointment will involve preparing the tooth by taking an impression of your teeth and fitting a temporary crown. You can expect to be in our office for up to an hour.
Between your first and second appointment, a crown will be fabricated. The time in between is generally about two weeks. When you return for your second appointment, our dentist will remove the temporary crown and begin cementing the permanent crown in place. Your mouth will be numbed and you should not expect to feel any pain. If you’ve had a root canal, you may not need local anesthesia. During this visit, you can expect to be in our office for up to an hour.
Materials Used for Crowns
- Gold Porcelain Crown
- Zirconium-oxide crown
- Full ceramic crowns
- Metal Porcelain
- Porcelain fused to metal crowns
Important Aftercare Instructions Following a Crown Procedure
Following the completion of placing the crown into its new home, you may feel slight discomfort in your mouth. You will want to avoid chewing gum or eating candy that’s sticky or hard. You can, however, eat as usual. In the beginning, you will notice sensitivity to cold food or beverages. The sensitivity will go away within a few days. It’s important to continue your dental hygiene as normal, including flossing. Keeping your teeth and gums clean is key to maintaining good health. If you notice any unusual symptoms, please call our office immediately.
Long-term Care for Crowns
With a crown in place, it’s extremely important to maintain good oral hygiene. Please do not neglect cleaning your teeth and using mouthwash. Some people have the misconception that a crown tooth doesn’t require regular cleaning. Crowns are still susceptible to decay just like natural teeth. A rule of thumb: don’t do anything with a crown or bridge that would damage a natural tooth. You may want to switch to products that treat sensitive teeth. We’d be happy to offer recommendations!
Why Would I Need a Bridge?
Similar to a crown, a bridge may be necessary to replace a missing tooth. A bridge can replace missing teeth or those with severe infection. Bridges have the capability to perform like natural teeth. They also improve the appearance of your mouth so there won’t be any gaps.
Other reasons for needing a bridge include:
- To correct issues with biting properly
- To prevent teeth from shifting positions
- To improve your ability to speak and chew
- Cosmetic reasons such as improving the appearance of teeth
The process is generally split into two visits. During the first visit, the abutment, or bridge teeth, are prepared. Preparation typically involves recontouring your teeth by removing a portion of the enamel and creating room for a crown to be placed over them. Impressions of the teeth are made. Our dentist will place a temporary bridge while your permanent one is being manufactured over the course of up to two weeks.
Upon your second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new one will be measured to make sure it fits properly. Multiple visits may be necessary to ensure a proper fit. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, our dentist may temporarily cement it allowing you to test it out for a couple of weeks before it’s cemented into place.
Types of Bridges and Material Used
- Traditional: Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge. They are made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever: Cantilever bridges are not as common, but are useful when there’s an adjacent tooth on only one side of the missing tooth. They are typically used in the back of the mouth, where it won’t put too much force on other teeth or damage them.
- Maryland bonded: Also known as resin-bonded bridges, these are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth.
Important Aftercare for Bridges
Living with a dental bridge ultimately provides you with the ability to eat and speak comfortably. You’ll want to do your part to keep the bridge in its best shape by practicing daily dental hygiene practices. This includes brushing your false teeth as you would natural ones. You should also floss once a week to prevent decay between the false teeth and your natural ones. If you experience sensitivity, you should switch to products that treat sensitivity. While there aren’t any foods or beverages you’ll need to completely omit, eating more fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber is recommended. Foods that will stick or get stuck between teeth should be avoided as much as possible. Our team will make sure to provide you with any specific products to avoid based on your condition.