Teeth play a vital role in our everyday life. Whether speaking, eating, or flashing a friendly smile, teeth are an active participant in a healthy and social lifestyle. When a tooth becomes damaged or decayed and needs to be removed, the leftover gap can be functionally and cosmetically frustrating. At Thornton Park Dental Arts, cosmetic dentistry is one of our specialities as we help patients restore their smiles in just a few visits. Whether a tooth is chipped, cracked, or missing, our dentists in Orlando, FL can mend the area and provide patients with a smile they’ll continue to love.
Dental crowns can be thought of as a covering or “cap” that is placed over the surface of the tooth. Typically, crowns are used when teeth have suffered moderate functional or cosmetic damage, and a patient is in need of natural-looking replacement that fits over the existing tooth. While crowns are great for restoring damaged teeth, they require an existing tooth in order to properly function. If one or more teeth are missing and a patient isn’t interested in a dental implant, then a bridge may be an appropriate solution. Dental bridges utilize crowns and the surrounding teeth to help “bridge the gap” that has formed between the teeth, effectively replacing the missing section.
Crowns typically come in four variations, including:
Having the benefits of both porcelain and metallic crowns, patients can expect a durable replacement that still has the aesthetics of a regular tooth. Due to this added strength, teeth opposite of this crown may face increased wear.
Most commonly used to restore front teeth, these crowns provide a natural color and appearance, and are hardly distinguishable from real teeth. These crowns aren’t as strong as their metallic counterparts but can have the added advantage of being made in a single day with CEREC® solutions.
Mixing various metals, including gold and copper, this type of crown bonds strongly to the existing tooth and is unlikely to fracture or become excessively worn. These crowns are the best for back teeth, as some may find the metallic appearance off-putting.
Highly resistant to corrosion, these strong crowns require minimal amounts of healthy tooth to attach to and are unlikely to cause wear to surrounding teeth. These crowns are perfect for strong, biting teeth, providing long-lasting protection from wear and tear.
Bridges have four commonly-used types, including:
Unlike a traditional bridge, cantilevers only require one supporting tooth in order to fill in an empty gap. These bridges are commonly used when only one connecting tooth is available and tend to be less stable than their traditional counterparts.
Utilizing two abutment (supporting) teeth, these bridges are some of the most commonly used in cosmetic treatments. Connecting the abutment teeth to a pontic (fake) tooth, a bridge is formed that closes the gap between the teeth and provides a natural-looking hold.
If a patient wants to preserve their natural teeth, these bridges are a conservative option that still provide adequate support. By using metal and porcelain to close the gap, these bridges attach to the backs of the surrounding teeth, requiring no supporting crowns.
When one or more teeth are missing, these bridges make use of implants to help hold the bridge in place. The implants are attached to the jaw and help secure the bridge while providing a strong attachment to the tooth.
In most cases, applying a crown and bridge will require more than one dentist visit. At the initial appointment, an impression will be made and sent to a dental lab in order to create an individualized dental mold. This mold will be sculpted based on the surrounding teeth and will provide a natural and comfortable fit for this new inclusion. During this first visit, the damaged tooth will also be reduced in size, preparing the tooth for the new crown. In order to reduce the chance of damage as the permanent crown is being made, a temporary crown will be affixed over the prepared tooth. Once the permanent crown is complete, patients return for a follow-up appointment where the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is applied and cemented to the affected tooth.
Patients can expect roughly the same procedure for the application of a bridge, as in most cases the addition of a crown is also required. The main difference lies in the anchor points needed to secure a bridge, as this may require additional teeth to be prepped for the gap restoration. A mold will also be made of the gap to best determine the perfect mold for the missing tooth.
Crowns and bridges are nearly permanent if properly maintained. After the crown or bridge is applied, patients should take care to avoid chewing hard objects, such as ice, pen caps, or tough foods, as this may cause unnecessary damage. If an existing crown or bridge has come loose, or if you’re considering an oral care procedure, contact us today! At our Orlando dentistry, our staff is well-educated in the latest practices and techniques needed to provide patients with a comfortable and safe dental care experience. Get a smile you’ll love, and put those dental issues in the past.