Crowns and Bridges

Dental crowns are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cover the portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that fill in or cover over just a portion of a tooth. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth\’s new outer surface.

Crowns can be made out of porcelain (dental ceramic), metal (a gold or other metal alloy), or a combination of both. Other terms that are used to refer to dental crowns are \”dental caps\” and \”tooth caps.\”

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Why do teeth need dental crowns?

Dental crowns recommended for a variety of reasons but, in general, most of these reasons will usually fall within one of the following categories:

  • To restore a tooth to its original shape.
  • To strengthen a tooth.
  • To improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.

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A bridge is an excellent way to replace a missing tooth and keep a beautiful smile. A bridge replaces one or more missing teeth by attaching to the teeth on either side of the empty space. Why replace a missing tooth? Teeth need each other for support. When teeth are lost, the biting force changes on the teeth next to the space and the teeth begin to shift. When the opposing tooth no longer has anything to bite against it will also begin to shift. The whole side of the mouth can be compromised by a single missing tooth.

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Ceramic Onlays
This procedure is a terrific alternative to silver amalgam fillings. When a restoration is of small or moderate size, it can be effectively restored directly with a composite resin. Larger restorations, however, are best performed utilizing a stronger, more durable ceramic material. Ceramic onlays have many advantages. They are extremely strong, with a superior fit, shape and bite. These restorations are very resistant to enamel, and have superior aesthetics. A higher fee and the requirement of two or more appointments are the disadvantages.

Onlays make an excellent alternative to the more traditional procedure of crowns. Onlays require less tooth removal and the material itself is more shock absorbing and kinder to the opposing teeth in the bite. Many situations that would have required a crown can now be restored utilizing the more conservative onlay procedure.

Contouring
Contouring levels off teeth that are positioned unevenly or that have become chipped or worn over the years. The teeth are simply trimmed along the biting edge to be smoother and better shaped. This procedure does involve a dental drill, yet there is usually no discomfort and it doesn\’t require local anesthetic. It is amazing how much difference contouring can make in enhancing a smile.