You may have heard of crowns and bridges while at the dentist’s office, but what are they? Both crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged. They are also sometimes used to take the place of missing teeth. These services go hand-in-hand with other services we offer and are used to strengthen your teeth. Crowns can protect weak teeth from fracturing, cover dental implants, attach a bridge and be utilized in many more ways. Bridges help fill the space and restructure areas of missing teeth where dental implants just can’t quite do the job. Both can work wonders for your mouth if the services are needed and many of our patients love what their crowns and bridges have done for them. Learn more about the importance of crowns and bridges and why we provide these effective treatments to our patients!
A crown is one way that our patients can restore and enhance a tooth that has been damaged. Crowns are often used with dental implant procedures and for root canal treatments. With a dental implant, a patient generally is missing one or more teeth. We will insert a metal post into the patient’s jaw. Once the post has had time to heal, we will add a customized tooth to the post. This post is created to fit with the rest of your natural teeth and will act like a natural tooth. In many cases, your crown will be stronger than your natural tooth.
Crowns can be used to:
With proper care, a dental crown can last between 5-15 years. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment. A crown in this form can also strengthen the surrounding teeth. This is because the crown was added to a dental implant that was inserted into the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, the surrounding bone (and teeth) can become weaker. When that space is filled with a dental implant covered by a crown, the structure of jaw in that area of the mouth becomes stronger. This allows the surrounding teeth to be sturdier and more resistant to becoming weak.
We mentioned that crowns are also used in root canal treatments. A root canal treatment is made necessary when an untreated cavity reaches all the way to the pulp of the tooth. Located inside the tooth, this pulp is where cavities form. The goal is to brush the teeth often enough that bacteria in plaque is not able to erode the enamel and seep into the pulp of the tooth. However, when a cavity does form and does become severe, the tooth can still be saved with a root canal treatment. The pulp of the tooth cannot heal on its own once infected and will become painful. A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The treatment goes all the way through the canals of the tooth, or the roots. This is why this treatment is known as a root canal.
Root canals are traumatic for the teeth. A tooth will be weak after this treatment, but at least the natural tooth is saved. To keep the natural tooth intact, we will create a customized crown for your tooth. Instead of being a full new tooth (like with a dental implant), we create a crown in the form of a cap. This cap will go over your natural tooth. It will make the tooth look whole and new again while providing the strength your tooth needs for biting, chewing, talking and more.
There is a difference between crowns and bridges although they are similar. Bridges help fill the space and restructure areas of missing teeth where dental implants just can’t quite do the job. A bridge literally “bridges” the gap between several missing teeth. It is a method to fill the space created by missing teeth that cannot be replaced with a dental implant. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is where the bridge gets its name.
An implant is generally used and inserted into one area of the jaw. An implant post is also inserted into another area of the jaw. Crowns will be made for these dental implants and an additional crown will be made to go in between the two implants. The middle crown is supported by the other two teeth and is attached to these teeth. This middle implant will not have a post inserted into the jaw, but will be supported by the other implants. All the teeth are connected, forming a bridge of sorts. Bridges are great for patients who are missing multiple teeth in the same area.
Dr. Wolbaum has done many crowns and bridges procedures and will be able to create and bond a very high-quality dental crown or bridge for you. If you have a damaged or missing tooth, let Dr. Wolbaum restore your smile today. Call our Pioneer Hills Dental office at (303) 223-0403 for your free consultation!