Crowns and Bridges
What Is A Crown?
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant. Ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials used include gold and metal alloys. These metals are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth.
Why Do I Need A Crown?
A crown may be recommended to:
- Replace a large filling when limited tooth structure remains
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal therapy
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
How Does It Work?
Fitting a crown requires at least two office visits.
Initially, Dr. Carbone will remove the decay and old fillings and rebuild the tooth, if needed. Next, she will reduce the tooth sufficiently to allow for a porcelain and/or metal crown. A digital scan of the tooth will be taken and sent to the lab for the fabrication of the crown. The lab will use the shade selected by the doctor which matches the existing teeth. A temporary crown will be placed to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown is being fabricated.
On the subsequent visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the doctor will fit and adjust the final crown. The crown will then be cemented into place.
What Is A Bridge?
A bridge is three or more crowns that are soldered together to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is permanently cemented into place. The materials used for a bridge include gold, porcelain fused to metal, or in the appropriate situation, porcelain alone.
Why Do I Need A Bridge?
Proper oral function and appearance are important reasons for having a tooth replaced with a bridge. Teeth are designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on adjacent teeth and the gums when teeth are missing. If left untreated, teeth may drift out of alignment.
How Does It Work?
A bridge usually takes up to four or five appointments to complete. At the first and longest appointment, Dr. Carbone will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin to accommodate the thickness of the final restoration. Since the bridge must be fabricated by the lab to ensure proper fit, a digital scan of your teeth will be taken. Dr. Carbone will match the color to your surrounding teeth. A temporary bridge will be fabricated at our office and cemented into place to cover the prepared teeth while the permanent bridge is being fabricated. This temporary will be removed and re-cemented at each visit.
At the next appointment, the doctor will try-in the bridge. If the fit is satisfactory, she will cement the bridge.
At the third appointment, you return for try-in of the bridge framework to assure its fit and the doctor selects the color for the porcelain that matches your surrounding teeth. At the lab, porcelain will be baked onto the framework.
The bridge will be permanently cemented in a week or two when both you and the doctor are comfortable with the function and looks of your new bridge.
How Do I Take Care Of My Bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance since the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support. Additional hygiene aids such as a floss threader or proxy brush may be discussed, if needed.
An alternative treatment option for a missing tooth or teeth is implants. Dr. Carbone will be pleased to discuss whether you are a candidate for an implant.
Crowns and bridges can last a long time. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A crown or bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease.
To prevent damage to your new restoration, avoid chewing on ice or other hard materials.