What is a Dental Crown?

A tooth consists of two main sections: 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 the upper teeth. The root of the tooth is less exposed; it is covered by the gums and bone (in healthy teeth). When a healthy tooth has become broken, injured, or weakened, replacing the natural dental crown with an artificial dental crown may be necessary, in order to remedy the problem.

An artificial dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a tooth which 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 on the tooth can also be used to improve the tooth’s appearance and alignment. A crown is designed specifically to blend-in with your natural teeth, allowing you to feel comfortable and confident everytime that you smile.

Why do I need to have a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are one of the most common dental procedures performed at Smile Dental. Although they are common, each patient situation can be different as to the reason that a dental crown is needed. There are many different circumstances and situations in which 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 there is not enough tooth remaining.
  • To assist in holding a dental bridge in place.
  • To cover a dental implant that has replaced a missing tooth.
  • To protect a restored tooth after a root canal treatment.
  • To cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth in order to improve 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 skilled and properly trained dentists will communicate with you at every step of the process. Dental crown placement steps are determined by the reason that you need to have it placed, but usually, the process is quite simple. The operation itself may require one to two visits to our office.

The first appointment usually consists of an examination and preparation of the tooth that will receive the crown. In preparation for a dental crown, you may be required to start off with an x-ray of the tooth, depending on your specific situation. This is done in order to check the roots, the tissue and the surrounding bone of the tooth receiving the crown. If there is any damage or decay to the nerve or the tissue, a root canal procedure may be needed before the crown is placed.

Next, our dentists will anesthetize (or numb) the area of the tooth that needs a crown. Once you are numb and comfortable, the tooth will be reshaped. This is done by filing the tooth 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 create a crown customized to your remaining tooth. Usually, impressions are performed on the teeth above or below the tooth receiving the crown. This is done to properly ensure that the crown is created just right, so that it does not affect your bite. Once the impressions have been created, they are sent off to a lab for creation of the dental crown to be placed permanently on your tooth. If you must return for a second visit, the dentist will create a temporary crown to place on the tooth 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 with your teeth. Finally, using a specialized dental cement, the crown is attached permanently to the tooth. You will be asked to bite down to make sure that the bite feels normal to you. Once the procedure is successfully completed, you may be asked to return to the office for a quick check-up to ensure that the crown does not have any problems. Because the crown is strong and durable, the crown will restore the damaged tooth, allowing you to smile and chew as if it were your normal tooth.

What is a Dental Bridge?

Do you have gaps or missing teeth and want a 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. This is accomplished by joining a false tooth in the middle to the anchor of 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?

Here at Smile Dental, we want you to understand that you have options as a patient. For patients who are missing one or more teeth, we suggest that you have 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.
  • Preventing 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 perform a thorough examination of the affected area. Usually, the process of receiving a dental bridge is completed 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. This is performed 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 receive instructions on how to care for that temporary crown while you wait for the permanent bridge to be created. Finally, when the bridge has been completed and our dentists have received it back, the bridge will be placed in your mouth to be checked to make sure 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 which have been surgically placed into the jawbone prior to the bridge procedure and can now hold a bridge securely in place. Implant placement is a surgery, so 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 can take awhile 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 implant posts, to ultimately form a 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 designed 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 and dental situation is different and unique to each individual. However, with the proper oral care, dental hygiene, maintenance, and dental visits, a dental bridge will last from anywhere from five to ten years, and sometimes even longer. They are designed to be durable and can withstand the everyday forces that come 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 answer your questions and schedule a dental consultation for you.


Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and based on guidance and recommendation from the CDC, Smile Dental Lakeside has decided to close the practice until further notice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly. Thank you for your patience and understanding.