As technology has developed, so has dentistry. Many procedures that are considered standard procedure today would have been unthinkable in past years. Dental crowns and dental bridges are two such procedures. Using their technical expertise and real world experience, our dentists at Above Dental provide these cosmetic treatments to patients in North Bend and Coos Bay.
What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are a unique cosmetic procedure because they functionally replace a tooth without actually extracting the original one. This is possible because dental crowns are basically tooth-shaped caps: they fit snugly over a tooth and seamlessly blend in with the rest of the mouth. To an outside observer, a dental crown is undetectable and to the patient, the crown facilitates better speaking and chewing — the procedure essentially gets you the best of both possible worlds.
So, why are dental crowns helpful? The presence of the crown means that any problems with the underlying tooth — chips, cracks, or other irregularities — are hidden by the hard porcelain cap and the interior protected from any further damage. Dental crowns can be used both as a cosmetic procedure (that beautifies a smile by brushing up any imperfections in a tooth) and as a restorative technique (that keeps a damaged tooth from getting worse).
What is the dental crown procedure like?
The first part of the procedure and overall treatment is actually the initial consultation and examination. Your dentist will determine how much damage has been done to the tooth, and what kind of restoration would be the best option.
After making the decision that a dental crown is the ideal and desired treatment, your dentist will then prepare that tooth by carefully filing down the sides and top of the crown. This step will allow the new artificial dental crown to fit snugly and securely and properly in relation to the surrounding teeth. The grinding down stage is usually performed under a local anesthetic. Your dentist will grind down as little natural tooth structure as is necessary.
Next, a temporary crown will be placed over the fully prepared tooth while your dentist has the actual crown crafted in our in-house lab.
In about two weeks, your crown is ready, and your dentist will ask you to come in for the actual seating of the crown. Several visits might be needed to make sure the adjustment is perfect for you, but the extra visits are definitely worth it. When the final fitting and cementing is complete, you’ll have a great addition to your smile!
What are dental bridges? How are they attached?
Dental crowns are innovative solutions on their own, but they also play a huge role in another cosmetic treatment, the dental bridge. Crowns are designed to fix individual teeth, but bridges have a slightly different function — they replace missing teeth by filling the toothless (edentulous) gap with a prosthetic tooth.
These prosthetics can be fashioned from a variety of materials, the most common of which is dental porcelain, a creamy white yet sturdy substance from which crowns are also often made. You dentist carefully molds the dental porcelain into a shape that resembles the lost tooth as much as possible, so it’s very difficult for an observer to tell the difference between the prosthetic and the tooth post-procedure.
The prosthetic tooth acts as the “bridge” part of the dental bridge, but how is it actually attached to the mouth? That’s where dental crowns come in. The natural tooth crowns of the teeth on either side of the toothless space are ground down to accommodate artificial crowns. Because dental crowns are both permanent and stable, they offer the ideal structure to support the dental prosthetic. The only drawback to the dental bridge as a tooth replacement solution is the fact that the supporting abutment teeth have to be filed down, even if they are perfectly healthy.
If you think you’d benefit from either a dental crown or a bridge, contact your dentist at Above Dental today to discuss your treatment options.
Call us at Above Dental at (541) 756-0155 or visit our website to set up your consultation appointment today!