Crowns & Bridges
Why use dental crowns
Crowns are used in a variety of situations to protect and strengthen damaged teeth. While fillings are placed and shaped directly on the tooth, dental crowns are constructed outside of the mouth by a skilled ceramist, and your y dentist then bonds this restoration appliance to your tooth. These hard restorations cover the entire portion of the tooth that rests above the gum line and are used in a variety of situations to strengthen and protect damaged teeth.
Dental crown materials
Crowns are constructed from a variety of materials, including metal alloys, stainless steel, and porcelain. Our pediatric dentists use stainless steel crowns on baby molars that will eventually fall out, for our adult patients, we offer the most cosmetically appealing crowns made of white ceramic materials. All-porcelain crowns are ideal for the front teeth because they most closely mimic your real teeth. For molars, which must withstand stronger chewing forces, we typically place porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, which have a sturdy metal base covered with white porcelain to give you the perfect combination of strength and cosmetic appeal.
Reasons for crown placement
These are the most common scenarios in which your dentist will recommend placing crowns:
- Extensive decay: Large areas of decay usually do not respond well to fillings, and if you do have a large filling that has been in place for a while, the tooth may be vulnerable to stress and cracks. Covering the tooth with a crown can help prevent further damage.
- Root canal treatment: While root canal therapy helps save a tooth, it can also weaken it, so to help keep the tooth’s structure intact, a root canal procedure is almost always completed with crown placement.
- Broken cusps: The cusps of the molars sustain the most stress during chewing and are vulnerable to breakage, crowns help rebuild a broken tooth.
- Cracks: Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when the stress of chewing creates tiny fractures inside the tooth. A crown can help redistribute the forces of chewing and hold the tooth together to eliminate the pain.
- Tooth wear: Teeth grinding or acid erosion can cause the teeth to wear down over time, throwing off the bite. Crowns are used to build-up tooth structure for a restored bite.
- Cosmetic issues: Porcelain veneers are a more conservative way to transform the look of less-than-perfect teeth, but some extensive aesthetic problems may require full porcelain crowns.
- Dental bridges: A dental bridge replaces missing teeth and held in place with the help of crowns.
How crowns are placed
Crown placement is performed under local anesthesia, and your Houston family dentist begins by removing decay or damaged areas. To ensure that the crown stays in place, we must give your tooth a specific shape, which may involve reducing the tooth structure or building it up with filling material. After achieving the right shape, we make a mold of your tooth to send to the dental laboratory so that your crown can be constructed to fit perfectly. Your Houston dentist will affix a temporary crown, and you will need to return to our office when your permanent crown is ready. After trying on the crown and making sure that the fit and color are correct, we will permanently cement the restoration to your tooth.
Maintaining the health and integrity of your teeth
Without diligent preventive dental care, patients are vulnerable to tooth loss. Injury, deep decay, and periodontal disease can all compromise tooth health, requiring extraction. Fortunately, there is no need to live with an embarrassing gap in your smile because our family dentists can restore your appearance and ability to speak and eat with a fixed dental bridge.
Replacing missing teeth is vital
Filling the gaps after tooth loss is more than a cosmetic issue. Each tooth has its place and helps keep the other teeth in their places. However, when an adult loses a tooth, the extra room created in the dental arch allows the remaining teeth to drift. This makes the teeth crooked and alters the bite so that some teeth do not meet up adequately with opposing teeth, and it also places more chewing forces on certain teeth. Any number of issues, including teeth grinding, excessive tooth wear, tooth fracture, and TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder), can occur if a missing tooth is not replaced with a dental bridge or other prosthetic.
A bridge can replace a single tooth or several teeth if they are adjacent. The bridge is made of porcelain replacement teeth with crowns on both ends, and these crowns are affixed to the abutment teeth, which are the teeth on each side of the gap. The bridge placement procedure works much the same as with crown placement. Under local anesthesia, the abutment teeth are prepared for crowns, and an impression is made and sent to the dental laboratory with specific instructions for the size, shape, and color of the bridge. After your bridge is crafted, you will return to our clinic to have it cemented in place, and you will walk away with a beautiful new smile and a renewed ability to bite, chew, and speak normally.
Caring for your bridge
With good oral hygiene at home and regular dental visits, your bridge can last for 15 years or longer. To clean your bridge, you should brush it as you do your natural teeth, but flossing requires a different process. You should still floss around the teeth that anchor your bridge, but food particles, plaque, and oral bacteria can also collect in the small space where the bridge rests against the gum tissues. We will show you how to use a special floss threader or a small interdental brush to keep this area free of toxins that can harm your gums and cause bad breath.