Dental Crowns & Bridges
in Melbourne, FL
Dental crowns and bridges are wholly different dental prostheses, but they do have some commonality. At Implant Dentistry of Florida, Dr. Brown uses bridges to replace a missing tooth or a series of teeth and use crowns to strengthen compromised teeth. How do these forms of cosmetic dentistry overlap? Crowns provide the anchors on each end of a dental bridge.
At Implant Dentistry of Florida in Melbourne, FL, we can provide porcelain crowns and most bridges utilizing our CEREC 3D design and milling system. This allows us to fabricate these restorations in our offices, meaning that in most cases it takes just a single appointment to have a new crown or bridge placed.
What Is A Porcelain Crown?
A porcelain crown is a dental prosthetic that completely covers an existing tooth, right down to the gum line. Also sometimes called a cap, crowns are a means to save a tooth that is in danger of extraction. By placing a porcelain crown over the tooth, we can avoid extraction and return its strength for chewing and biting. Crowns can be used in cosmetic dentistry to cover a tooth that is misshapen or badly stained as they match perfectly with your other teeth and look completely natural.
Types Of Dental Crowns
There are three different types of dental crowns, even though porcelain crowns are the most used and reliable. Depending on the consultation with your dentist, we will examine your mouth to choose the best dental options for you. The types of dental crowns include the following:
- Porcelain crown
- Full metal crown
- Porcelain with metal crown
What Can A Dental Crown Fix?
- Teeth with very large fillings
- Chipped teeth
- Heavily decayed teeth
- Severely worn teeth (maybe from bruxism)
- Severely discolored teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
Am I A Good Candidate For Dental Crowns?
At Implant Dentistry of Florida, our CEREC® crowns have a dual purpose: they can save a tooth that would otherwise be in danger of needing extraction or they can be used for the cosmetic improvement of a tooth.
When you come see us at our beautiful Melbourne offices, we will examine the tooth with the damage. If it has already had a filling but new decay has developed around the old filling, we will have to remove an additional amount of tooth tissue, and this would likely structurally compromise the tooth. This would be the perfect scenario to then use a crown to allow you to keep the tooth. The same would be true for a deep crack, a large chip, a broken tooth, or a tooth or teeth worn from nightly teeth grinding in your sleep.
It’s always preferable to keep the natural tooth, if possible, but the repaired tooth can be too weak for use chewing and biting. That’s exactly what the crown can do — return strength and function to the tooth.
The same is true if you have a tooth that is misshapen or deeply stained from something like a reaction to tetracycline when you were a child. The tooth may be completely healthy, but you want to change its aesthetics. You don’t want to remove the tooth only to replace it with a dental implant. A crown can overlay the tooth and give you the perfect aesthetic appearance you seek, and you keep the natural tooth at the same time.
Also, any patient needing a bridge is automatically a candidate for a dental crown, as we use crowns to anchor the bridge on each side of the missing tooth or teeth.
The CEREC Crown Process
At most dental practices, having a crown placed on a tooth is a two-appointment process. But thanks to our CEREC system, it only takes a single appointment at Implant Dentistry of Florida. Here’s how we do it. First, Dr. Brown removes any decay or damaged areas of the tooth and then clean the tooth. Next, to make room for the crown to fit over the tooth, we shave down the tooth on all sides and on the top. When the tooth is downsized, we take a series of measurements and images that we send to our CEREC 3D system. With that information, we are able to design your crown chairside.
How Long Does a CEREC Crown Procedure Take?
Once the design is approved by you and Dr. Brown, we create the crown. The system takes a block of dental porcelain and mills it to the precise design specifications in about 30 minutes. When your custom crown is finished, we check the fit and color match with your adjacent teeth. We make any minor adjustments needed, and then we cement the crown onto your tooth permanently. Now you have a beautiful, strong, crowned tooth, and it only took a single appointment.
How Long Will Dental Crowns Last?
The lifespan of your crown is usually contingent upon the health of the tooth it fits over. Patients should maintain good home hygiene including brushing twice daily and flossing. In addition, patients should keep up with their regular cleanings and exams with the team at Implant Dentistry of Florida. With this care, your crown should last up to 20 years.
How Do I Care For My Crown?
Crowns don’t require any special care; you simply brush twice daily for two minutes and floss once. When flossing you want to take a quick extra step for your crown. When flossing the crowned tooth, you will move the floss under the crown lightly on both sides to clean the gum surface and remove any food particles that may have gotten under the crown bottom. This takes just a few seconds.
What Our Patients Have to Say
“When I met Dr. Brown, I thought he was very knowledgeable, and I felt I could trust him. He recommended crowns on a few teeth and then the bridge, and he explained why he suggested that. It made sense to me that instead of getting the bad teeth pulled one at a time, it was smarter to take them out all at once, then place the bridge.” – Debbie S.
“Absolutely the nicest people in a dental practice! From beginning to end you can see that they care about their patients, that they are professional about it, and I could not say enough about the entire staff here! This is your dentist!” – David P.
What Is A Dental Bridge?
As the name implies, a dental bridge spans the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. A dental bridge has three parts including two crowns, called the abutment teeth, on each side of the gap and the span in the middle. In this case, the span is an artificial tooth or teeth, called the pontics. Bridges are made as a single piece and are permanently cemented onto the two abutment teeth.
Am I A Good Candidate For Dental Bridges?
Sometimes if a patient has a tooth extracted or loses a tooth following trauma, they don’t opt to replace the missing tooth. After all, it’s just a single tooth, right? And if it’s a molar, no one will see it, so what’s the big deal?
But leaving a gap anywhere in your mouth is a bad idea for a variety of reasons. First, teeth stay put due to the pressure placed on them by neighboring teeth. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth tend to slide over into the gap. This creates alignment and bite problems.
These are the reasons you’d be a good candidate to have Dr. Brown and our team place a bridge:
- To complete your smile
- To prevent adjacent teeth from moving
- To restore chewing and biting capability
- To distribute the bite forces to not overload other teeth
- To restore your speaking diction
- To maintain the shape of your face
How Is a Dental Bridge Procedure Performed?
At Implant Dentistry of Florida, we use our CEREC 3D system to design and fabricate your bridge, if possible. In some cases, however, a dental lab still needs to fabricate the bridge. The beginning of the process is the same as creating a crown. However, we use the CEREC system to make a bridge that fits with the crowns.
When your bridge and crowns are finished, we check the color of your natural teeth. Plus, we check the fit of the crowns over the abutment teeth. Once satisfied, we cement the crowns and bridge into place.
Will I Need Multiple Appointments?
Since we use our CEREC system this placement can, in most cases, be done in a single appointment.
How Long Will My Bridge Last?
The life of a bridge is usually dependent upon the health of the abutment teeth. If they remain healthy, a bridge can last up to 15 years or longer. Just like your natural teeth, bridges need to be brushed regularly. Additionally, patients should come in regularly for exams to ensure the bridge is being properly maintained.
How Do I Care For My Dental Bridge?
Cleaning the two crowns and the artificial porcelain teeth in between doesn’t require any special care, just normal brushing and flossing on the outside of the two crowns (and, of course, the rest of your teeth). It is important to also clean under the bridge to make sure the surface of your gums remains healthy. This can be done with a floss threader, which can be threaded under the bridge. You can also use an interdental brush, which can slide under the bridge to remove food particles and plaque. An oral irrigator, such as the Waterpik, can be used, as well. The goal of any of these methods is to remove any food debris, plaque, and bacteria on the gums under your bridge.
What Foods Should I Avoid After Having A Bridge Placed?
You can use your new bridge immediately after leaving our Hibiscus Boulevard offices, but it’s wise for the first day to avoid chewing anything really tough with your new teeth. This is simply to ensure the cement fully hardens and cures.
After that first day, there aren’t any restrictions other than maybe common-sense choices. You can break a bridge, and you can pull off a bridge. So, you should consider at least not chewing overly hard or chewy foods on the teeth with your new bridge. That’s not a requirement, but just some advice to get the longest lifespan out of your prosthetic.
Can Crowns and Bridges Be Whitened?
Only natural tooth enamel responds to hydrogen peroxide whitening agents. Our CEREC® crowns and bridges are made from dental porcelain, so they cannot be whitened. But porcelain crowns and bridges are highly stain-resistant — odds are your natural teeth will need to be whitened to bring them back to match the crowned tooth.
Alternatives To Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are a great way to save a tooth from needing extraction and restore strength and function. For restoration purposes, the only alternative to a crown is a dental implant. For cosmetic reasons, such as covering a stained or misshapen tooth, porcelain veneers could be an alternate option.
Alternatives To Dental Bridges
Bridges replace missing teeth so an alternative would be a series of dental implants. Dr. Brown prefers dental implants for replacing teeth because they function exactly like a natural tooth and can last for decades. However, bridges are a more affordable option.