With advancing age, teeth undergo wear and tear and become inflicted with chips, cracks, decay, fractures, stains, discoloration, and more. Such damage impairs both their appearance and function. As a result, they need to be restored and repaired to be able to perform basic oral functions like chewing and biting.
Crowns and bridges are custom-designed dental prosthetics, used to restore teeth to a healthy and functional state.
What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps mounted over damaged and decayed teeth to restore their appearance, strength, function, alignment, and more. They are generally fabricated from tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain to mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
How are dental crowns placed?
Dental crowns’ placement requires two visits to the dentist’s office. The placement procedure is described in the following steps:
1. A comprehensive oral examination is conducted to make sure you are in good oral health. The adjoining oral structures are in good should be in optimal health to support the dental crown.
2. Digital impressions of your mouth are obtained to design a dental crown that matches the exact color, shape, and size of the neighboring teeth.
3. The damaged tooth and its surrounding area are anesthetized to avoid pain and discomfort during the procedure.
4. A dental dam is used to separate the damaged tooth from the rest of the mouth. It also prevents the tooth from salival-contact, which is necessary to keep bacteria from interfering with the procedure.
5. Next, the decay or damage is drilled out and the cavity is filled with an inert filling material.
6. Then, the tooth is drilled down to produce room for a crown.
7. Digital prints of the newly prepared tooth are obtained to ensure the dental crown's shape, size, and fit.
8. The digital impressions obtained during steps 2 and 7 are sent to a dental laboratory.
A lab technician uses these digital impressions along with a trailblazing technology to get a flawlessly fitting dental crown.
9. The dental lab takes one to two weeks to prepare a custom-designed crown. During this time, a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to prevent wear and tear.
10. After your dentist has received the permanent dental crown from the dental lab, you are called in for a second visit.
11. The temporary crown is removed and the custom-designed crown is permanently cemented in place.
What are dental bridges?
Bridges are custom-made dental restorations, used to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of artificial teeth connected to dental crowns on each side. The artificial teeth close the gap left by missing teeth, while the dental crowns are cemented on to the teeth present adjacent to the gap. These adjacent teeth are called abutment teeth and anchor the bridge in place. Bridges are of four types:
● Traditional dental bridges
● Cantilever dental bridges
● Maryland dental bridges
● Implant-supported dental bridges
How are dental bridges placed?
Dental bridges’ placement also requires two visits to the dentist’s office. The placement procedure is described in the following steps:
1. A comprehensive oral examination is conducted to make sure you are in good oral health. The adjoining oral structures should be in optimal health to support a dental bridge.
2. The teeth adjacent to the gap (abutment teeth) and their surrounding area are anesthetized to avoid pain and discomfort during the procedure.
3. The abutment teeth are prepared to receive the dental crowns. During this step, the teeth are drilled down to produce room for the dental crowns. Abutment teeth anchor the bridge in place and prevent it from moving or slipping.
4. Digital impressions of the newly prepared teeth are obtained along with the impressions of the gap caused due to tooth loss. These impressions are sent to a dental laboratory. A lab technician uses them along with a trailblazing technology to get a flawlessly fitting dental bridge.
5. The dental lab takes one to two weeks to prepare a custom-designed bridge. During this time, a temporary bridge is installed in place to protect the prepared abutment teeth from wear and tear.
6. After your dentist receives the custom-designed dental bridge from the dental lab, you are called in for a second visit.
7. The temporary bridge is removed and the custom-designed bridge is permanently cemented in place.
What are the benefits of dental crowns and bridges?
Dental crowns and bridges provide many benefits. Some of them are:
● Dental crowns are often used in cosmetic dentistry to enhance the shape, size, and color of teeth to make them look more appealing.
● Teeth with large fillings lose a lot of their tooth structure and cannot be restored using tooth fillings. Such severely damaged teeth are restored using dental crowns. Dental crowns also provide strength to these teeth and prevent them from falling apart.
● Dental crowns and bridges fill in the gaps left by missing teeth and restore the cosmetic appeal of the smile. It boosts self-esteem and confidence.
● Tooth loss causes the facial muscles to sag and one starts looking older than their actual age. Dental crowns and bridges provide support of the facial muscles and help the facial contour to stay in shape.
● Tooth loss causes gums to be exposed to bacteria and plaque, which leads to gum disease and other oral health issues. Dental crowns and bridges cover the gums and reduce one's vulnerability to oral health issues.
● Tooth loss causes gaps between teeth. As a result, the adjacent teeth start shifting from their position and tilt into these gaps. It causes malocclusion and other orthodontic problems. Replacing missing teeth with dental crowns and bridges helps in closing these gaps and prevents future orthodontic risks.
● Gaps left by missing teeth cause lisp and chewing difficulties. Dental crowns and bridges close these gaps and remove the lisp and also restore one's chewing ability.
● When you lose teeth, the underlying bone structure starts to recede and dissolve. Implant-supported bridges provide the underlying jawbone the required stimulation and prevent it from receding.
● Missing teeth cause uneven distribution of chewing force. As a result, excessive pressure is levied on teeth, which leads to premature wear and tear. Dental crowns and bridges replace missing teeth and even out the chewing force.
How long do crowns and bridges last?
Dental crowns and bridges last up to 15 years. Their wear and tear would depend on mouth-related habits like grinding and clenching of teeth, chewing hard foods, biting on foreign objects, and more. The life span of crowns and bridges can be increased with good oral hygiene practices and mouth-related habits.
Teeth restored with crowns and bridges do not require special care to stay in optimal health. They are to be treated like natural teeth. Regular brushing and flossing with a bi-yearly professional dental cleaning should suffice.
In the case of wear and tear, crowns and bridges can be easily repaired and replaced at your dentist's office.
At Westwood Dental, in Draper, Dr. David Reynolds and his team employ the best practices of modern dentistry to address your oral health issues. Using state of the art technology, they perform full mouth rehabilitation to provide you the finest smile makeover in Draper, Utah.
Schedule an appointment with us at 801-438-3332 or visit our dental practice at 11576 S. State St., Suite #1201, Draper 8400. You can also email us at [email protected].