The image to the right is of porcelain crowns. One of these replaces the tooth area above the gum line. It virtually becomes the new outer surface of your tooth. They’re made out of porcelain or metal or a combination of both.
When Do You Need a Crown?
Let’s say your tooth is decayed on three or four surfaces. Rather than get fillings, it usually makes more sense to get a crown. Fillings can only go so far to preserve your teeth and with a certain amount of decay it doesn’t make sense to fill them. You might as well get a crown, which is a more permanent procedure. It’s analogous to patching a bicycle tire: at the point your tire needs too many patches, it makes sense to get a new tire. If this is the situation, Dr. Pete will recommend a crown, but the final decision will be yours to make.
Another instance when you’ll need a crown is after a root canal. In that case, you’ve still got your tooth remaining, which is a good thing. However, the tooth is no longer getting nourished by the roots, as they’re dead. The tooth becomes brittle and it absolutely must have a crown over it to protect it from breaking when you chew. There’s a lot of pressure bearing down on teeth during chewing — those chewing muscles of yours are the strongest muscles in the body! So, when your tooth isn’t strong it can easily break. That’s why you need to get a crown put on a tooth that’s had a root canal.
Dr. Pete may recommend a dental crown for a variety of reasons but, most likely, it will be for one of the following:
- To restore a tooth that may have deteriorated.
- To strengthen a tooth. For example, after a root canal, you’ll want to crown the tooth to keep it from breaking, as the root is dead.
- For cosmetic reasons – to improve the appearance of a tooth.
- To restore a lost tooth once an implant has been placed. This is called an “implant crown.”
How Long Will It Take to Get My Crown?
Today, dentists can purchase equipment to make crowns in their offices the same day. And, although Dr. Pete is a big fan of technology, when it comes to crowns he prefers to work with lab technicians who are professionals at customizing crowns to look and feel natural. In-office dental crowns no doubt are functional, but Dr Pete prefers the fit and look of crowns made sculpted and and colored to his specifications.
Hand-crafted crowns are put through a finishing process that customizes them fully to your mouth. They’re no more costly than those made on machines in dental offices. So you can get a custom look and fit for the same price as a crown made in-office on a machine. Although you won’t get the crown the same day, you’ll have a temporary made that looks like the real thing. Within a week your porcelain crown will be back from the lab.
Have you lost teeth due to accident, injury, or gum disease? In those cases where dental implants are not an option, a dental bridge can help restore your smile. It fills the gap caused by missing teeth, preventing your remaining teeth from shifting. A fixed bridge can also correct a misaligned bite, improve chewing function and speech articulation, and give you a more youthful appearance by providing structure to your face (compare a dental bridge with a dental implant).
What Is a Fixed Dental Bridge?
A bridge is a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) that attaches on one or both sides to teeth prepared with dental crowns. The fixed bridge is permanently joined onto the neighboring teeth and consists of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth, and two abutment crowns. The style of bridge will depend on the strength and health of the neighboring teeth, as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your dentition.
The advantages of a fixed dental bridge are:
- It’s fixed, stable, and feels like your own teeth, although the more inexpensive they are, the less this is the case.
- In most cases it can be made to look just like you never had a tooth missing.
The disadvantages are:
- You have to treat the two teeth on either side of the missing teeth in order to anchor the bridge in place. These teeth may be in good shape with nothing wrong.
- There will now be extra pressure on these adjoining teeth to make up for the missing tooth or teeth.
- They can be hard to floss.
With proper care, a fixed dental bridge may last 8 to 10 years, although Dr. Pete’s had patients with bridges that have lasted much longer. Susan S (below) tells how her bridge lasted 35 years before she recently had Dr. Pete replace it with an implant and crown!
Our Patient Describes Her Experience with a Dental Bridge
Susan S. says:
“I WISH THERE HAD BEEN IMPLANTS BACK IN 1978. I’d cracked a tooth in college and had a bridge put in by another dentist. It needed to be replaced and that’s when I got my three tooth bridge from Dr. Pete. The bridge he did lasted 35 years. They usually don’t last that long. It was a great bridge but it needed to be replaced.
Dr. Pete offered me the choice: I could replace my bridge or get an implant. He keeps up with technology so he’s able to present all options. I’m grateful to have good teeth and I take care of them. My smile is something worth hanging onto. I chose the implant. I was able to have all the procedures in Dr Pete’s office. That was two years ago. I’m really happy with the implant. It’s so easy to clean and it feels more like a part of my mouth than the bridge did. When I bite down it feels like a real tooth – not a thing suspended between two other teeth, which is how a bridge feels. The implant doesn’t feel cosmetic. The implant tooth engages with the other teeth. It just feels more natural than the bridge. It’s connected to me. It feels secure. The whole process was simple. That’s how Dr. Pete does dentistry. I’m very pleased with all the care and follow-up I have received from Dr. Pete and his staff…for over 37 years.”
More Crowns and Bridges Patients
My crown for my front tooth looks great ! I was very nervous about how it would look but you would never know it wasn’t my tooth ! This experience at Dr.Pete and staff is always great ! Never any pain and they are always very patient.
My lower right molar tooth had an infection that needed root canal. The temporary filling was smooth and Dr.Pete got a real looking crown for me. This was my first (and hopefully I won’t need one for long time) root canal the pain was significantly less than what I have been hearing from others. I also didn’t feel “one big tooth” after the crown was put in.
My new crown looks great and feels good. It was painless.
I am (was) missing several teeth (lower right side) and had tried partials designed by two different dentists. I came to Dr Pete on recommendation and he fitted me with a unique cantilever bridge. The prosthesis is absolutely marvelous! The new teeth are fitted perfectly and feel like my own natural teeth. Dr. Pagano did an expert job!