Crowns & Bridges

Dental Crowns and Bridges

A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and aesthetic appeal. Once a crown is cemented in place, it fully encases the visible portion that rests at and above the gum line.

Your dentist may recommend you get a dental bridge when you are missing one or multiple teeth. A removable bridge is a piece of denture that can be taken out, whereas a fixed bridge can be cemented onto your neighboring teeth.

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Reasons to Get a Dental Crown

There are several reasons why a person may need a crown placement.

  • To cover and support a tooth with a large filling that makes up the majority of the tooth.
  • To protect a tooth damaged by tooth decay from breaking or to hold together the pieces of a cracked tooth.
  • To restore a broken tooth or a tooth that has been ground down.
  • To hold a dental bridge in place
  • To mask discolored or misshapen teeth
  • To cover a dental implant
  • Cosmetic modification

Children may also need dental crowns if they are at high risk for tooth decay and have a tough time maintaining a healthy home care routine.

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What Are Dental Crowns Made Of?

A crown can be made from a multitude of different materials. Stainless steel crowns are typically used on adult teeth as a temporary solution while a permanent crown is fabricated from another material. Crowns can also be made from metals such as gold or palladium. The advantage of metal alloy is that they require less tooth structure removal. Additionally, metal crowns diminish the tooth wear to opposing teeth.

For aesthetic purposes, a porcelain crown may be fused to metal in order to match the color of your adjacent teeth. This may look more pleasing but it does cause more stress on opposing teeth than metal or resin crowns. Resin crowns are the least expensive variety but they wear down over time and are prone to fractures. If you have resin crowns avoid popcorn kernels! If you feel that you may need crowns, consult with your dentist to explore your options.

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What Are Dental Bridges?

A dental bridge is a set of three or more teeth together, which will replace a missing tooth in the middle. The neighboring teeth will each receive a crown on top of them while a fake tooth resides in between them. It is constructed as one piece in a dental lab and is usually cheaper, safer, and easier than more advanced procedures such as dental implants.

If a missing tooth goes untreated, it can cause the remaining teeth to shift into that empty space, which is bad not only cosmetically, but it can also affect your bite. Once the teeth have started to move, you may have to get a bone grafting procedure to correct them back to their normal places. Please note that patients who have missing teeth are at risk for developing TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) and gum disease.

As we mentioned earlier, an alternative to bridges are dental implants, which are prosthetic teeth that can bond to your jaw, just like a normal tooth after healing. This procedure is a bit more intensive, so people with diabetes, heart conditions, or bone loss may not qualify for implants, but they can instead get a bridge! If you are interested in a dental bridge or dental implants, please contact our South Tempe office for a consultation!

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