Dental Crowns & Bridges
Dental crowns and bridges are wholly different dental prostheses, but they do have some commonality. At Implant Dentistry of Florida, Dr. Brown and Dr. Vaughn use bridges to replace a missing tooth or a series of teeth and use crowns to strengthen compromised teeth. Where do they overlap? Crowns provide the anchors on each end of a dental bridge.
At Implant Dentistry of Florida, 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 also be used cosmetically to cover a tooth that is misshapen or badly stained as they match perfectly with your other teeth and look completely natural.
What Can a Dental Crown Fix?
In addition to anchoring bridges, crowns can be used for an assortment of problems including:
- 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
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 or Dr. Vaughn remove 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.
Once the design is approved by you and Drs. Brown and Vaughn, 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.
Results of a Dental Crown
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.
“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.
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.
The Dental Bridge Process
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. 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.
“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.
Alternatives to Crowns and Bridges
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.
Bridges replace missing teeth so an alternative would be a series of dental implants. Drs. Brown and Vaughn prefer 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.