Dental crowns are common. In fact, the number of Americans with dental crowns is on the rise. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 15 million people in the United States have crowns put in place of missing teeth or to support bridges. Danielle Greene, DDS, at Fabulous Smiles of Atlanta is an experienced professional, so if you think you may need a crown, request an appointment online or call us today at (404) 758-0770.
Crowns & Bridges Q & A
What is a crown?
A crown is a piece of metal, plastic, ceramic, or porcelain that covers a damaged tooth. It’s designed in the shape of the original tooth and can improve its appearance and strength. The crown fits over the tooth and is cemented into place so that the original tooth is completely encased.
Are dental crowns or bridges a good fit for me?
Dr. Greene may suggest a crown for many reasons. A crown can cover a dental implant or a discolored or oddly-shaped tooth. Crowns may also support a bridge, which can serve as a replacement for one or more teeth.
In addition to making a tooth more aesthetically appealing, a crown can serve a practical purpose by strengthening a natural tooth. Crowns can strengthen teeth that are at risk of breaking or that have weakened as a result of large fillings.
A dental bridge is a false tooth anchored between two adjacent crowns — the false tooth itself is also known as a pontic. These crowns may be placed on existing teeth or upon implants. Dr. Greene may recommend a bridge to replace missing teeth, which can help:
- Restore your smile
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Improve chewing and speech
- Prevent existing teeth from becoming misaligned
A bridge can also ensure your bite stays natural and doesn’t cause excessive wear in other healthy teeth.
What are the different types of crowns and bridges?
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including:
- Stainless steel
- Gold or another alloy
- Porcelain fused to metal
Bridges and pontics may also be crafted from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials.
The material used depends on a range of factors. For instance, stainless steel is usually the preferred material for temporary crowns or pontics. Metal alloy crowns are strong and able to tolerate the force of chewing and eating, but because of their color, they’re commonly reserved for rear molars.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns and pontics are more aesthetically pleasing than stainless steel crowns, but they aren’t perfect. For instance, the opposing teeth may suffer more wear-and-tear than they would with other types of crowns or pontics. The metal portion of the crown or pontic might also be visible as a dark line near the gums.
All-ceramic crowns or pontics are the best choices for patients who have metal sensitivities.
What’s involved with a dental crown or bridge procedure?
A majority of the time, a minimum of two appointments are required to complete a dental crown or bridge procedure. During the first appointment, your Fabulous Smiles of Atlanta professional will take X-rays to evaluate the condition of the tooth or teeth in question.
Next, Dr. Greene will administer anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding tissues. The tooth is built up or filed down so that the crown will fit snugly. Once the tooth has been prepared, she will take an impression of your teeth. The impression will be sent to the lab and used to custom-make the crown. Dr. Greene will create a temporary crown to protect your tooth until the permanent crown can be placed.
In the case of a bridge, the teeth surrounding the missing tooth are prepared for a crown. They must be filed down slightly to fit the crown. Once the permanent crowns are installed, Dr. Greene can adhere the pontic to these anchors. You may need up to three visits for a bridge application.