Crowns and Bridges

What is a Crown?

Over the course of your life, it is possible for your teeth to begin to weaken. Weak teeth become strong candidates for dental problems such as decaying, staining, and cracking. Crowns can be used to restore the luster of your smile as the teeth begin to age. A crown can also protect a decayed or damaged tooth from additional damage in the future. Your dentist will recommend a crown in situations that are too much for a filling to handle.

Are There Options?

There are several possibilities when it comes to crowns. Your choice will be affected by the severity of your situation and by your budget.

  • Metal crowns – This is often the choice for baby teeth that will be lost eventually. Metal crowns are very durable, but the metallic look is not pleasing to many patients.
  • Porcelain fused to metal crowns – This is a great solution for easily visible teeth. Underneath is the durable strength of metal. On the outside is the natural look of porcelain.
  • Porcelain crowns – If you have a clearly visible tooth that needs a crown, you will likely want to get a porcelain crown. The natural, enamel look of porcelain will cause the crown to blend right in with your existing natural teeth.
  • Gold crowns – Gold crowns offer two positive features. The smooth surface of the gold is very comfortable in the patient’s mouth. Also, with gold crowns there is very little tooth surface that must be removed. However, many patients are distracted by the shiny look of a gold crown.

Crowns generally last 10-15 years and must be cared for in the same way that you would care for your natural teeth.

What is a “Bridge”?

A bridge is used to replace multiple missing teeth and restore your smile to its original beauty. The term “bridge” is used because your existing natural teeth are used as anchor points for a dental “bridge” that fills the gap where your teeth are missing. A bridge carries the additional advantage of keeping your existing teeth in their proper position. If you do not replace missing teeth, your jaw structure will change over time making eating and talking more difficult as you age.