Crowns & Bridges
Crowns and bridges are a fundamental part of cosmetic dentistry, but they serve much more than simply a cosmetic purpose. Crowns are often used to stabilize a tooth that has been weakened by intensive fillings or a root canal or to repair a tooth that has been eroded by either wear and tear or decay. Crowns are also frequently used to hold a dental bridge in place.
Dental bridges fill in the spaces created by missing teeth. In addition to the aesthetic aspect of replacing missing teeth, the bridge helps to prevent damage to your other teeth that can occur when they are compensating for missing teeth, allows you to continue to enjoy fresh and healthy foods, and prevents speech difficulties that can be caused by missing teeth.
Dental crowns can be fashioned from a number of different materials including gold or other metal alloys, porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin, and all-porcelain. Each of these materials has both advantages and drawbacks. We will discuss your options with you fully and recommend the material that best fits your needs.
Fitting your tooth with a crown is typically a two-step process. At your first appointment, your tooth will be prepped for the crown. We will perform a complete dental examination and may also require x-rays. It’s important for us to be able to see how strong the root of your tooth is to make sure that the tooth can support the crown.
We will then file down the tooth. This is necessary to create space for the crown to fit over the tooth. The amount to be removed will depend greatly on the type of crown you will be getting. When your tooth has been prepared, we will take impressions of your teeth to send to the dental lab that will be making your tooth.
Once your crown returns from the lab, you return to our office to have the permanent crown placed on your tooth. We will check the fit and make sure that everything looks good and then you can be on your way.
The process for preparing for a dental bridge is very similar to preparing for a crown, especially since many bridges are held in place with crowns. Like crowns, bridges may be made of different materials including porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin, and plastic. We will work together with you to determine which type of bridge is best for you.
Not all bridges are supported by crowns. It is also possible to have a dental bridge that is supported by dental implants. Implants allow a bridge to be placed without the need to alter otherwise healthy teeth. If you are interested in dental implants, please let us know.
If your bridge is going to be supported by crowns, we will prepare the abutment teeth (the teeth that hold the bridge) for the crowns. We will then take the impressions and send them to the lab. When your crowns and bridge are ready, return to our office, and we will place the crowns and the bridge and check your fit.
The only care that crowns and bridges require is the regular brushing and flossing routine we recommend for all of our patients along with twice-yearly cleanings and examinations. If you have any problems with your crown or bridge such as a loose feeling or a change in your bite, please let us know immediately so that we can see you quickly and make any adjustments that are necessary.
To speak with one of our dentists about crowns or bridges, please call our Rehoboth Beach dental office and schedule a consultation appointment.