Dental crowns are caps that fit over teeth, while dental bridges are composed of multiple dental crowns with a fake tooth, or pontic, in between that fits in the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. Dental bridges are anchored into place by abutment teeth, or the teeth on either side of the gap. Both dental crowns and bridges can be used to restore teeth that are severely damaged, decayed, or even missing. They can also maintain your ability to speak and chew properly, as well as maintaining the natural shape of your face.
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Depending on the material used, your dental crown or bridge can last anywhere from 3-15 years. The total lifespan will also depend upon your oral hygiene routine and how much wear and tear the dental crown or bridge is exposed to.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for a dental crown or bridge?
You may be a candidate for a dental crown if you have a damaged or decayed tooth in need of repair. Dental crowns can also be used to repair misshapen or discolored teeth, as well as to hold a dental bridge in place or to cover a dental implant.
In some cases, dental crowns may also be used for children. When this is the case, dental crowns are often placed to save a decayed tooth or to prevent the decay from spreading until the tooth is naturally lost.
Additionally, if you have a missing tooth or teeth, then you may be an ideal candidate for a dental bridge. To find out which dental option is right for you, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists at Fox Valley Dental today!
What are my dental crown options?
Dental crowns can be made out of a variety of materials, including:
- Stainless steel crowns are generally used as a temporary measure while a permanent crown is made. However in some cases, like with children, a stainless steel crown is left in place. In children with stainless steel crowns, the crown is lost when the primary tooth is naturally lost.
- Metal crowns can be made from gold, platinum, or base metal alloys such as cobalt chromium or nickel chromium. This type of crown is extremely strong, long lasting, and rarely chips or breaks, however they can erode over time and are not aesthetically pleasing.
- Porcelain fused to metal crowns are made from metal, but have porcelain fused over the top for a more natural appearance. They can be matched to the color of the surrounding teeth, however they may cause more wear on opposing teeth.
- All-resin crowns are an affordable dental crown option, however they lack the same level of durability as other variations of dental crowns.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns are an ideal dental crown option for those with metal allergies or for those who want an aesthetically-pleasing option.
- Temporary crowns may be placed while a permanent crown is being fabricated in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are generally made from acrylic-based material or stainless steel.
What are my dental bridge options?
When it comes to dental bridge options, there are four main variations to choose from:
- Traditional bridges use porcelain or porcelain fused to metal materials to place a dental crown on the anchor teeth with a pontic in between.
- Cantilever bridges are used when only one side of the missing tooth has an anchor tooth. Although not very common, nor recommended, they can be used towards the back of the mouth.
- Maryland bonded bridges, also known as resin-bonded bridges, use a combination of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums, as well as a metal framework. This type of bridge is attached to the existing teeth with porcelain or metal wings.
- Implant-supported bridges used dental implants to secure the dental bridge rather than adjacent crowns or metal frameworks. With an implant-supported bridge, there may be one implant placed per every missing tooth or a pontic placed between two implant supported crowns.
How will my dental crown or bridge be placed?
To place your dental crown or bridge, your tooth or teeth will first need to be properly prepared. In some cases where the affected tooth is decayed, you may need to have root canal treatment as an additional preparation. To prepare the affected tooth for a dental crown, part of the tooth’s enamel will be removed and the remaining enamel will be reshaped to accommodate the dental crown. For a dental bridge, both the anchor teeth will be prepared for dental crowns.
Once the affected tooth or teeth have been prepared, a dental impression will be taken of your mouth. This dental impression will be sent to a dental laboratory and used to fabricate your custom dental crown or bridge. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be placed to protect your tooth from damage or decay.
In about a week or two, you will return to our office to have your permanent restoration placed. Prior to placing your permanent dental crown or bridge, the restoration will be checked to ensure that it is the correct size and color. Once the size and color have been confirmed, the final restoration will be cemented into place.
What can I expect after my dental crown or bridge is placed?
After your temporary dental crown is placed, you will need to take special care to avoid damaging or dislodging the crown. This is because temporary crowns are meant to be just that, temporary, and are not made to withstand large amounts of force. To keep your temporary dental crown in place, you will need to chew on the opposite side of your mouth, avoid slipping dental floss under the temporary crown, and temporarily avoid foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy.
After your permanent dental crown or bridge is placed, you can continue with your usual routine. To prevent damage to your crown, we recommend avoiding detrimental behaviors such as nail biting, teeth clenching or grinding, using your teeth as an opener, and chewing ice. To maintain your dental crown or bridge, we recommend brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time using a fluoridated toothpaste, flossing once daily, and visiting Fox Valley Dental at least twice a year for your dental check up and professional teeth cleaning.
If you are interested in getting a dental crown or bridge, schedule a consultation with Dr. Dokhanchi and Dr. Micaletti of Fox Valley Dental today! We are proud to serve Aurora, as well as the surrounding communities of Sugar Grove, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Montgomery, Oswego, and Naperville.