Crowns & Bridges

Crowns and Bridges Frequently Asked Questions

Questions to Ask About Crowns and Bridges

Prior to considering crowns and bridges as your option of choice, it is a good idea to prepare for your consultation with the dental specialist and make a list of all the questions that you would like to address at the visit.  That way, not only can you make a more informed and educated decision about your teeth, there will also be no confusion between both you and the dentist and there will be no surprises.

Q. In considering a bridge, why is a crown employed?

A. Having a crown made for you and inserted over your tooth like a cap, saves the tooth and avoids having an unnecessary extraction.  The crown strengthens a tooth that has been compromised by large fillings or dental decay and trauma.

Q. Crowns are made in different materials.  Which is better for me?

A. The latest technology creates crowns made with porcelain material.  This makes the tooth look and feel very natural and improves the appearance of the smile.  While an amalgam or metal allow shows the extent of dental work, a porcelain crown will have a white reflective shine, mimicking your own teeth.

Q. Will the crown be obvious when I smile?

A. If the crown is made from porcelain, it can be made to exactly match the shade and shape of your other teeth so that it blends in with the adjacent teeth, making it difficult to discern from the surrounding ones. When the lining is porcelain as well, then even though the gum line may recede (which is typical in the aging process), the crown will look like your other teeth.

Q. Is the placement of a crown or bridge painful?

A. The operative site where the crown or bridge will be placed can be made numb with local anesthetics.  If you are very anxious or have a low pain threshold, your dentist can address this by administering sedation (intravenous or inhalation) anesthesia.

Q. What role do crowns play in bridge attachments?

A. Crowns are generally placed on the two teeth adjacent to the bridge to be attached for strength to these teeth.  Then the bridge, constructed with one or more artificial teeth, is attached to the teeth being covered, spanning the gap in between. Metal bands connect the crowns to the artificial tooth, holding it in the proper place.  Unfortunately, some healthy tissue in the adjacent teeth is removed to make room for the appliance.

Q. How long do bridges last?

A. Bridges can last more than ten years if proper oral hygiene is maintained.

Q. What is a fixed bridge?

A. A fixed bridge, which replaces one or more missing teeth, cannot be removed from your mouth.  It is fixed onto the two crowns adjacent to either side of the bridge.

Crowns and bridges look very natural now with the latest techniques and you can sport them with confidence

Crowns And Root Canal Treatment

A crown is a false tooth. It’s placed over a natural tooth, ground down because of decay or damage of some sort, or it’s just too weak because of numerous fillings.

A root canal is a way to preserve a portion of a tooth, after decay or damage has reached the nerve, which is in the root.

A small hole is drilled in the tooth. And all the dead nerves, blood vessels and debris from each canal in the tooth are removed. The roots are then reshaped and any and all infection is removed. Then they are refilled with material like the pulp that was there.

The two often accompany each other, but not always. The dentist will ascertain certain things before advising you on the treatment you should have.

Why would you need the crown?

Usually, crowns are called for when a tooth gets cracked or broken, or are so decayed that filling it would compromise the tooth. Also, crowns are used to hold a bridge in place.

If the crack is just in the top of the tooth, or a small piece near the top is broken off, it may not be necessary. And again, if the decay is entirely above the gum line, it probably can be cleaned out without a root canal.

Why would you need a root canal?

Perhaps the crack in the tooth or the cavity extends into the root. Then a root canal can be your best, and actually only, option to save that tooth, or part of it. And for a crown, part of the original tooth needs to be there.

Root canals are usually highly dreaded in the general population. But new methods make it so much better than it used to be. It can actually be done in one visit to the dentist or endodontist, rather than two, as before. And it’s now virtually painless.

So, in a word, no. It’s not absolutely necessary to have a root canal before a crown. But if there’s the slightest possibility of that tooth nerve being affected, you’re much better off getting the root canal first. And a cracked root isn’t always obvious on an x-ray. If it’s discovered after the crown is put on, then the crown will have to be removed, which isn’t easy.

If you have crowns to stabilize a bridge, there’s probably no need of a root canal, since there may be no decay or damage to those teeth.

Sometimes you can have a root canal, but not need a crown. That happens if sealing the tooth after the root canal has solved the problem, and the tooth is in good shape otherwise.

Listen to your dentist. Only a dental professional will know what is needed. And if you need a root canal, remember, it’s no problem anymore.

 

How Often Should You Have Your Crowns or Bridges Checked?

Crowns

What exactly are they—crowns and bridges? A crown is basically a “cap” that is placed over a weak, or damaged natural tooth, to protect it. It’s made of porcelain, metal or gold.

The natural tooth is ground and prepared to accept the new crown. And the crown is made so your bite is what it used to be with the natural tooth healthy.

Before getting the new crown, a temporary crown is placed over the ground down natural tooth, to extend temporary protection.

Bridges

A bridge is prepared when there is a missing tooth, or teeth. A false tooth is suspended between two crowns. The crowns are there for added support for the bridge.

Again, a temporary bridge will be given to you while your real bridge is being prepared. In this case, you’ll have two temporary crowns and a temporary bridge tooth.

Once your real crown or crowns and bridge are put in, you will be able to think of them as your natural teeth. Your bite should be as it was. If not, a special trip to the dentist is in order—to get the crowns or bridge adjusted. It can be worked on until your bite is right. That’s’ important because you could develop jaw problems if it’ not.

Once everything is right, you’ll need to go back to the dentist just like you would for normal checkups, twice a year or on whatever schedule your dentist says is right for you.

What problems might develop?

When the temporary is still on, and you don’t eat properly, the crown and/or bridge could come out, or become loose. Avoid chewing on anything hard, like ice or anything chewy like beef jerky, or anything sticky. And that means no Tootsie Rolls or caramels, if you have a sweet tooth! And peanut butter isn’t a good idea, either.

For the same reason, the permanent could also come out, or become loose. But once the stronger cement is used on the permanent, it is much less likely. Usually, this would happen early, not long after the crown/bridge is put in. Again, take care not to bite on anything hard that could crack or break your crown/bridge. Or anything that could tug on it and “pull” it out.

Even though you have a porcelain or gold crown, if you don’t follow really good oral hygiene habits, decay could get started underneath the crown, starting with plaque at the base of the crown and progressing into a cavity.

Therefore, adhere to your regular dental checkups. Your crowns and or bridge will be checked carefully with each appointment. Any looseness will be corrected, and plaque will be cleaned away, with the dental hygienist’s efforts and your good oral hygiene at home.

So about every six months, unless you have a problem is what you should plan on—just like with your natural teeth, unless you’re advised otherwise.