What is a Dental Crown?

A tooth can be broken down into two main parts which consist of the crown and the root. The crown of a tooth is the part of the tooth that is visible inside the mouth. The crown can be found above the gum line on the lower teeth, and below the gum line on upper teeth. The root of the tooth is less exposed and is covered by the gums and bone in healthy teeth. When a normal tooth has become broken, injured, or weakened, replacing a dental crown may be necessary to remedy the problem.

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a tooth that has been severely damaged from decay or injury. Once a tooth has been damaged, a dental crown is needed to completely encase the damaged tooth in order to strengthen and restore the tooth back to its shape, size, and functionality. Having this type of dental restoration placed can also be used to improve a tooth’s appearance, or alignment. A crown is specially designed to blend in with your natural teeth, allowing you to feel comfortable every time you smile.

What are Crowns & Bridges?

Doctor Ivan Santos explains when a crown or a dental bridge may be needed.

Why do I need to have a Dental Crown to placed?

Dental crowns are one of the most common dental procedures done at Smile Dental. And although they are common, each patient differs in the reason that a dental crown may be needed. There are many different circumstances and reasons that our doctors may recommend a dental crown such as:

  • To protect a weak tooth from fracturing caused by decay.
  • To restore a tooth that has already been fractured or worn down.
  • To cover a tooth that has a large cavity and not a lot of tooth left.
  • To assist in holding a dental bridge in place.
  • To cover a dental implant that has been placed.
  • You have had a root canal treatment, and a crown is needed to protect the restored tooth
  • You want to cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth to better your smile.

 What is the procedure to get a Dental Crown?

Here at Smile Dental we assure you that our main priority is to provide you with comfortable, quick, and efficient procedures. Our highly trained dentists will communicate with you every step of the process. The process of having a dental crown placed depends on the reason you need to have it placed but is quite simple. The process itself may require 1-2 visits to our office.

Usually in the first appointment the tooth receiving the crown is examined and prepared. Depending on your specific situation, in preparation for a dental crown you may be required to start off with an x-ray of the tooth. This is done in order to check the roots, tissue and surrounding bone of the tooth receiving the crown. If there is damage or decay to the nerve or tissue, a root canal procedure may be needed first.

Next, our dentists will anesthetize, or numb, the area of the tooth needing a crown. Once numbed and comfortable, the tooth will need to be reshaped. This is done by filing it down along the chewing surface and sides of the tooth in order to make room for the crown to be placed comfortably over it.

Once the tooth has been reshaped and filed down, and all decay has been removed, our dentists will then take an impression of the tooth in order to custom create the crown that will be used. Usually impressions are done on the teeth above or below the tooth receiving the crown. This is done to properly ensure that the crown is created just right as to not affect your bite. Once the impressions have been created, they are sent off to a lab in order to create the dental crown that will be permanently placed. If you must come back for a second visit the dentist will create a temporary crown to place in the tooth for you until the permanent crown is ready.

Once the permanent crown is ready, our dentists will do a quick check to ensure that the color of the crown matches perfectly to your teeth. Finally, using a specialized dental cement, the crown is then attached permanently to the tooth. You will be asked to bite down to make sure the bite feels normal. Once the procedure is successfully over, you may be asked to come back in for a quick check up to ensure the crown has no problems. Because the crown is strong and durable, the crown will restore the damaged tooth, allowing you to smile and chew just as if it were your normal tooth.

What is a Dental Bridge?

Do you have gaps or missing teeth and want a good solution? Our dental experts can close the gap in your teeth with a dental restoration called a dental bridge, which will bridge the gap between your teeth.  A dental bridge is a fixed restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth by the joining of a false tooth in the middle that is anchored down by two abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Dental bridges are usually supported by adjacent natural teeth, or by dental implants.

What are the benefits of receiving a Dental Bridge placed?

Here at Smile Dental, we want you to understand the options you have as a patient. For patients who are missing one or more teeth, we suggest having a dental bridge placed. A dental bridge can offer many benefits to you such as:

  • Closing the gap in your smile caused by missing teeth.
  • Restoring your ability to chew properly
  • Restoring your ability to speak properly.
  • Preventing existing teeth from shifting out of their correct position.
  • Prevents the risk of bone loss in the jaw.
  • Bridges are permanently fixed in your mouth preventing any movement from the appliance.

What is the process for receiving a dental bridge?

There are two processes in which dental bridges can be placed which include, fixed bridges and implant supported bridges. Before our dentists can determine which method of receiving a dental bridge is needed, we will need to do a thorough examination of the affected area. Usually the process of receiving a dental bridge is done within two separate visits.

A fixed dental bridge uses your existing natural teeth on either side of the gap to permanently hold the bridge in place. Our dental team will begin by preparing the natural teeth on both sides of the gap by reshaping and filing down the teeth. The teeth need to be prepared in such a way that will allow the crown of the bridge to be securely, and comfortably placed on top. Next, our dentists will then make an impression of your teeth that have been prepared. Once the impressions are done, they are sent to a lab to custom create the crowns that will be placed on the newly filed down teeth in order to bridge that gap. While the crowns are being created for you, a temporary crown will be placed in order to protect the prepared teeth. You will be given instructions on how to care for that temporary crown while you wait for the permanent bridge to be ready. Finally, when the bridge has been created and our dentists have received it back, the bridge will be placed in your mouth to check that the bite is correct. Once it feels comfortable and to your satisfaction, the bridge will then be permanently cemented into your mouth using a specialized dental cement.

An implant based dental bridge is a bridge that uses dental implant posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to hold the bridge in place. Because this is a surgery, you are given a stronger anesthetic for your comfort. It is recommended that you have someone drive you to this appointment as the effects of the anesthesia are strong and take a little longer to wear off. The process will begin with the doctor giving you an anesthetic, and then making a small incision into the jawbone. The implant post is then placed, and then the custom created crowns will be attached to the top of those posts to form that bridge.

Will a dental bridge change the way I speak or eat?

Whether you have received a fixed dental bridge, or an implant based dental bridge, it will not change how you speak or eat. The bridge is designed to allow you to speak, chew, and bite as if they were your natural teeth. They are also created to blend in with your natural teeth, so you can smile with confidence.

How long will a dental bridge last?

Every patient’s dental work is different and unique to each individual. However, with the proper oral care and hygiene, maintenance, and dental visits, a dental bridge will last from 5-10 years and longer. They are designed to be durable and can withstand the everyday forces that comes along with chewing and biting.

If you are in need of a dental crown or bridge or would like more information on these procedures please call our office at (619) 334-8743, and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to assist you further.