Patients often hear about crown and bridges as an option for replacing missing teeth. However, they may not completely understand how they work. Dr. Terry Vines is a respected dentist in the Redlands, CA, area who helps his patients make informed decisions about their dental care. Here, Dr. Vines explains crowns and bridges and how they work together to help give patients complete and heathy smiles.
By definition, a crown can be used to cover a damaged tooth or to restore a tooth that’s badly chipped or broken. It sits on top of the tooth and covers the entire surface. A crown can be used to address many dental concerns, including protecting a tooth that’s at risk after a break or fracture, to complete a dental implant, protect a tooth after a root canal, to reshape or improve the appearance of a tooth, or to attach a bridge.
A bridge is a prosthetic device that is used to “bridge” the gap that remains when a tooth is lost. When a tooth is missing, a crown is placed on each of the adjacent teeth and the artificial tooth between them fills in the space. The appliance is cemented into place and is therefore permanent. Bridges can be used to fill in gaps made by one or more missing teeth. Not addressing a missing tooth can lead to shifting and misalignment of the remaining teeth, which can then lead to gum disease and other oral health problems.
Having the crown or bridge created and placed requires several trips to the dentist’s office. During the first visit, the dentist will remove a very small amount of the tooth’s enamel so that the crown or bridge fits properly. Then he will take impressions, which are used to design the restoration to ensure that the new device will fit properly and look natural. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed while the permanent one is created. Once the permanent restoration is ready, the patient returns to the office to have it cemented into place. With proper care such as brushing, flossing, and not biting into hard items, the crown or bridge should last for many years.
For more information about dental crowns and bridges, call Dr. Terry Vines at Pure Gold Professionals in Dentistry today.