One of the most common procedures in restorative dentistry is creating a dental crown. A dental crown is just one of many options in restorative dentistry that are now available to restore damaged teeth. In dentistry, the term crown refers to the portion of a tooth that is usually covered by enamel. The crown is typically visible after it develops below the gingiva, or gum tissue, and then erupts into place. If you chip or break that portion of a tooth, your restorative dentistry dentist can apply an artificial dental crown.
While dental implants and bridges can replace entire teeth and tooth-colored fillings or a dental filling can repair cavities, a dental crown shields an existing tooth by covering the tooth from the gum line up. A dental crown can protect teeth from further damage, strengthen a worn tooth and restore a tooth after you’ve had a root canal procedure. The right dental crown covers the entire visible portion of a compromised or damaged tooth, giving it greater strength and protection from further damage to that tooth.
Dr. Hearne may recommend a dental crown procedure if you:
- Have a weak tooth that needs to be covered or needs a bridge
- Have a tooth that is chipped or cracked and needs protection
- Have a tooth that is extremely stained or discolored
- Want a dental crown purely for cosmetic reasons
Dentists use several types of crowns made from different materials. These include ceramic, porcelain, resin, stainless steel or even gold. Cosmetic crowns are typically made from porcelain or ceramic material with no metal. And some low-cost crowns are made of porcelain over metal.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are pluses and minuses with each type based on specific individual needs and tooth condition. Your dentist is best-qualified to address your specific condition and needs and recommend the best dental crown option for your particular tooth.
Installing a dental crown typically takes two dentist visits about two weeks apart. During your first visit, your dentist will carefully examine the damaged tooth to see if it can support a dental crown. He or she will then remove a small amount of enamel to prepare your tooth for the crown. If your tooth is severely damaged or broken, your dentist may first need to repair it and make it large enough to properly receive and support the new dental crown.
After your tooth reaches the proper shape and size, your dentist will take an impression of the damaged tooth and adjacent teeth, then send the impression to a dental lab where your permanent crown will be created. At the end of your first visit, you will have a temporary crown that protects your tooth until the final crown is finished and ready to be permanently placed.
During your second visit, when the permanent crown is ready, you will have your temporary removed and the new permanent dental crown installed. Your dentist will position and attach the new crown using a special permanent adhesive that is much stronger than the adhesive used on the temporary crown.
After your new dental crown is applied, it may take you some time to adjust before the permanent crown feels completely normal in your mouth. In a matter of a few days, your new dental crown should look, feel and function just like a regular tooth. If you have any questions or concerns about your new dental crown after your procedure, talk to your dentist.
Your new dental crown is made to last a lifetime, but it can come loose or fall out under the right circumstances. That’s why it is important for you to ensure a long life for your crown by practicing good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing thoroughly every day. You can keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and by flossing at the end of each day.
You should also visit your dentist or hygienist regularly (at least every six months) for your checkups and professional cleanings. And you should avoid chewing especially hard foods, ice or other hard objects such as pens and pencils to prevent damage to your new dental crown. Avoid chewy candies (e.g. jellybeans, saltwater taffy, toffee, gumdrops, caramels, etc.) that can literally yank your dental crown right off of your tooth and ruin your bite.
Keep in mind that dental crowns are most commonly used to cover, or “cap,” a damaged tooth or dental implants. In the case of dental implants, the dental crown or restoration is the final part of the whole implant. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your new dental crown, talk to your dentist.
We welcome patients from Layton and nearby locations.
Like dental crowns, dental bridges are fixed prosthetic devices that your dentist or a prosthodontist cements onto existing teeth. We commonly use bridges for patients who are missing one or more teeth. We create precision-crafted bridges and cement them onto adjacent natural teeth or onto dental implants surrounding the space left by the lost or missing tooth or teeth. The typical dental bridge consists of two dental crowns surrounding a false tooth, which is called a pontic, in the middle. Our dentist affixes the two dental crowns onto the teeth directly adjacent to the space left by the missing tooth, thus creating a proper bite and restored chewing function. Some bridges are designed to replace two missing teeth in the same area instead of one.
If you are missing more than two teeth, dental implants, dentures or partial dentures may offer better solutions.
In addition to replacing missing teeth, bridges can be used to improve your appearance, tooth shape, alignment, and overall bite, also known as dental occlusion. The gaps left in your mouth by missing teeth can cause your remaining teeth to shift, which can ruin your bite mechanics and cause other dental problems. Bridges and crowns can help prevent shifting teeth and poor bite mechanics. The false teeth or pontics used in dental bridges can be made from metal alloys, gold, porcelain or a combination of these materials. Bridges can be supported either by natural teeth or by dental implants. Bridges can:
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
There are three main types of bridges:
- Traditional bridges include a crown to cover the tooth or implant on each side of a missing tooth, with a pontic in between. These bridges are most common and are made of porcelain fused over metal or ceramic material.
- Cantilevered bridges, which are rarely used anymore, were used for patients who had adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This type of bridge is not recommended for placement in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on adjacent teeth and cause damage to them.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called resin-bonded bridges or Maryland bridges) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused over metal or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework.
The process involves preparing your adjacent teeth to receive the bridge. These adjacent teeth are called abutment teeth. Tooth preparation involves reshaping these teeth by removing a bit of enamel to make room for a crown to be placed without affecting your bite. Your dentist then takes impressions of your teeth. These impressions lead to the creation of a 3D model from which the bridge, including pontic and crowns, can be fabricated in a dental lab. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge to protect your exposed teeth while the permanent bridge is being made.
You will need a second visit so your temporary bridge can be removed and your new bridge can be checked and adjusted to achieve a proper fit and bite. Additional visits may be necessary to adjust the fit of your new bridge. This varies according to each patient’s needs. If your bridge is a fixed traditional bridge, your dentist may cement it in place temporarily for a couple of weeks to ensure proper fit. Once we achieve proper fit, we cement the new bridge permanently in place.
Dental bridges can last from five years up to 20 years with proper care and oral hygiene.
We welcome patients from Layton and nearby areas.