Crowns & Bridges
A dental crown is a cap in the shape of a tooth that is permanently attached over a damaged tooth. This procedure helps to restore the tooth’s strength, shape, and size, while improving its appearance. The crown is placed over the visible portion of the tooth above and at the gum line. It is commonly used to hold weak, broken or cracked teeth together and to prevent further fracturing. In addition, it can support large fillings, attach a bridge, or cover discolored or misshapen teeth. Crowns can also be used over dental implants.
Typically, installing a crown requires two visits to the dentist. In the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth or implant for the crown by grinding and shaping it. The dentist then takes an impression of the tooth and surrounding gums, which is sent to a dental laboratory to create the crown. A temporary crown is placed over the tooth until the permanent one is ready. During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is cemented onto the tooth.
Crowns usually last between five to eight years, but with good oral hygiene, they can last longer. Certain habits, such as biting fingernails, chewing ice, and grinding teeth, can damage the crown and should be avoided.
Importance of Replacing the Missing Teeth
By replacing missing teeth, you can restore your ability to chew and speak properly, as well as improve your appearance. In addition, leaving gaps from missing teeth may cause nearby teeth to shift into the empty space. This shift can lead to a misalignment in your bite, resulting in issues with your jaw joint. Misaligned teeth can also be more difficult to clean, making them more prone to gum disease, tooth decay, and further tooth loss.
The Dental Bridge Treatment
Typically, your dentist will need to see you for two or more visits to complete the bridge procedure. During your first visit, the supporting teeth – usually the teeth on either side of the missing tooth – will be prepared to make room for the crowns that will fit over them. These crowns will also serve as anchors for the pontic, the replacement tooth for the missing tooth.
An impression of the supporting teeth will then be taken to create a custom-fit bridge at a dental laboratory. Meanwhile, a temporary dental bridge will be put in place to protect the supporting teeth and prevent shifting.
At your second visit, the permanent bridge will be placed and adjusted to ensure a proper fit and function. If the fit is satisfactory, your dentist will proceed with permanently cementing the bridge into place.
Dental Bridge Post Treatment Expectations
Following the successful placement of the bridge, you may experience some discomfort such as mild pain when biting or sensitivity to temperature changes for a few days. Your dentist may advise you to take over-the-counter pain medication, like Advil which contains ibuprofen, to alleviate the discomfort. However, if these symptoms persist for more than a few days, it’s important to visit your dentist for further evaluation.
Cleaning Your Dental Bridge
The lifespan of your dental bridge is mainly determined by the quality of the materials used in the bridge, along with your oral hygiene, diet, and the overall health of your supporting teeth and gums. It’s essential to ask your dentist for advice on proper brushing and flossing techniques to maintain the health of your dental bridge and supporting teeth.