When it comes to the world of dental restoration, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the available options, many of which have similar terminology. It is important to understand the difference between each type of restoration to determine what is right for you. At SEDA Dental of Pinecrest, our expertly trained dentists are here to guide you through the process of dental restoration, answer all of your questions, and help you achieve your best smile yet.
Two of the most common dental restorations are crowns and bridges. While both are useful ways to restore a smile, they each have specific functions and are applicable to different patient situations. To help understand which restoration might be right for you, let’s explore the definitions, uses, benefits, and expected results of each.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown can best be described as a cover or cap that is cemented over a natural tooth. Crowns are typically made of porcelain, ceramic, metal, or resin and can be created to match the size, shape, color, and overall look of the natural tooth. Patients in Pinecrest, FL commonly have crowns placed to enhance the look of a tooth and/or to strengthen a damaged tooth.
Who can benefit from a dental crown?
Crowns are beneficial in many different settings, having the ability to repair both function and appearance. For patients who have a discolored or misshapen tooth, a crown can cover the tooth completely and result in a natural-appearing, beautiful new smile. A crown is also used to restore a tooth that has been treated for moderate-to-severe decay or with root canal therapy. In instances of a damaged, cracked, or weakened tooth, a crown can also be an appropriate choice to protect, cover, and strengthen the natural tooth.
What can I expect during and after the procedure?
At SEDA Dental of Pinecrest, patient comfort and care are among our top priorities when it comes to any treatment. Having a crown placed is a relatively easy and painless procedure, though it takes at least two visits to complete. At your initial appointment, your dentist will prepare the tooth by removing the outer layer of tooth structure, allowing the crown to fit over the tooth and removing any decay that may be present. The dentist will then make an impression of your teeth. Most likely, you will be fitted with a temporary crown while your permanent crown restoration is being made.
About 10 – 14 days later, you will have your next appointment during which the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be cemented in place. Any necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit and bite will be made. In some cases, patients may need to return to our Pinecrest, FL practice one additional time to make follow-up adjustments as things settle into place, though this is rare.
After a crown is placed, you should continue caring for it just as you would a natural tooth. Brushing and flossing twice a day is vital to preserving the integrity of the crown, the underlying tooth, and the surrounding tissue. While they are very durable, crowns can break, crack, or fall out with time or trauma, but they can be easily replaced.
Dental bridges actually make use of crowns in many cases, but the bridge itself is a very different restoration. Now that we have addressed some of the basic aspects of a dental crown, here are the comparative basics of a dental bridge.
What is a dental bridge?
When a patient is missing one or more consecutive teeth, a dental bridge can be constructed to replace the missing tooth or teeth. The best way to think of a dental bridge is in terms of it being an actual bridge — bridging the gap between two teeth. These “end” teeth are called abutments and are used to support a bridge. Most often, bridges are made of a series of crowns, the ends of which fit over teeth that sit on each side of the open space. The center portion contains the false tooth, or “pontic,” and fills in the gap left behind by tooth loss. Bridges can be made of ceramic, porcelain with a metal substrate, and all metal.
Who can benefit from a dental bridge?
Patients in Pinecrest, FL who are missing multiple teeth may be candidates for a dental bridge. It is important for an experienced dentist to evaluate the patient’s overall oral health, adjacent teeth, gum tissue, and other factors when determining whether a bridge is the best course of action.
A lesser-known benefit of a dental bridge, though one of the most important, is that bridge restorations can help maintain a patient’s oral tissue health and ultimately their overall facial structure. When a person is missing one or multiple teeth, the surrounding teeth can begin to loosen and shift. In some cases, missing teeth may lead to deterioration of the gums and ultimately a sunken appearance of the jaw and face. A dental bridge can combat and help avoid these structural problems.
What can I expect during and after the procedure?
Having a dental bridge installed is very similar to the process of having a crown placed, though it is a slightly longer procedure. Just as with a crown, the support teeth will be prepared and impressions will be made. A temporary bridge can be placed over the area while the permanent bridge restoration is being made. At the following appointment, the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent tooth replacement appliance will be cemented into place and adjusted as necessary.
After the placement of a permanent bridge, you can expect to regain the ability to chew, talk, smile, and laugh with a newfound confidence in your smile.
Another important aspect of both crowns and bridges is that they can both be supported by either natural teeth or implants. Our caring and skilled dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest are always committed to preserving the natural tooth whenever possible but there are cases when a tooth may be lost or it may be necessary to extract a tooth. When this happens, dental implants can be placed. The titanium screws used in implant dentistry are durable and long-lasting and various restorations – like crowns and bridges – can be secured to these implants in the absence of a natural tooth.
With multiple techniques at our disposal, the expert dental team at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest can help find the best restoration for you. Call our office today to schedule your consultation and let us give you your best smile ever.