Cosmetic Dentistry Bridges Crowns

Dental bridges are generally used when patients are missing one or more teeth. To fill in a large gap, the bridge is glued directly to the surrounding teeth for support.

Dental crowns act as caps that cover the tooth and restore it to a normal size and shape. Since cracks and breaks on a tooth do not heal on their own, damaged teeth can be repaired with the use of a crown.

The Procedure for Dental Crowns and Bridges

The procedure for both dental crowns and bridges are the same. On the first visit, the preparation for the a crown or bridge includes:

  1. size reduction: Because the crown is a piece that needs to be placed entirely over the tooth, the tooth must first be ground down to accommodate the cap. The cap can be made out of a few different materials, each requiring a different amount of tooth to be removed. Gold can make a very thin cap, so less of the tooth is removed. Alternately, if the dental crown is made of porcelain, more of the tooth will be removed.
  2. mold: An impression of your shaped teeth is made, and then sent to a dental laboratory. There, the mold is used to make a crown that fits perfectly over your tooth.
  3. temporary replacement: Because the amount of tooth enamel removed is significant, a temporary cap is placed on the tooth while the permanent crown is being made. The crown can take anywhere from one to two weeks to be made.

Dental Crown for Damaged Teeth - Bridges and Crowns

During the interim, you may notice that your teeth are hypersensitive to cold and hot foods — this is normal. For your second visit, your crown (and/or bridge, if you are undergoing a procedure to fill in a missing tooth) is put in according to the following process:

  1. removal: Your temporary cap is removed.
  2. fitting: Your new crown or bridge is fitted to be sure the shape and size fits perfectly. The color is also compared to be sure it matches the surrounding teeth.
  3. cementing: After the final fit, the dental crown and/or bridge is cemented permanently to the teeth. This process is not reversible.

Dental Crown for Damaged Teeth - Bridges and Crowns

Good Candidates for Dental Crowns

Your dentist will discuss with you whether or not a dental crown or bridge is a good choice. Some of the situations in which a dentist may recommend dental crowns or bridges include when:

  • teeth are stained
  • teeth damaged by decay
  • teeth are cracked and need to be held together
  • teeth are missing.

The Cost of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns can cost anywhere from $600 to $1200 per tooth. The price is influenced not only by the reputation of the professional performing the procedure but also by the material used and the number of crowns (or the length of the bridge) needed. Generally, gold crowns and bridges are more expensive than porcelain crowns and bridges.

Insurance Coverage

Usually, insurance companies do not cover bridges and crowns, especially if they are for cosmetic reasons. Be sure to check with your individual insurance provider, as some policies will partially cover procedures if they are medically necessary.

Special Care with Dental Crowns

It may take some time to get used to your new dental crown and bridge. This is because you teeth will shift slightly as they adjust to the new spacing. After the procedure, be sure to maintain a regular oral hygiene schedule with daily brushing and flossing. To prevent excessive staining, avoid drinks like dark sodas, tea, coffee and wine. Dental crowns are made to last indefinitely, so it is important to treat them with this in mind.

Resources

Colgate-Palmolive Company (2008). What Are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges? Retrieved April 13, 2008, from the Colgate World of Care Web site.

Peterson, Dan DDS (2008). Crowns. Retrieved April 13, 2008, from the Family Gentle Dental Care Web site.

WMDS, Inc. (2006). What is a Dental Crown? Retrieved April 13, 2008, from the Animated-Teeth Web site.