Tooth Crowns & Tooth Bridges in New Jersey

 
 
 

Crowns

Whether from neglect, genetics, or just bad luck, problems such as a broken tooth, discolored tooth, or cavity filled tooth can happen to anyone. When it does, it is assuring to know that we have many options at hand to fix the problem. When deciding how to approach fixing a problem, our dentists will consider many factors – severity of the decay on the tooth, size of the crack, overall mouth health, age, etc.

Once these factors are considered, they can then decide on a method of treatment (e.g. crown, bridge, veneer, bonding, etc...) to restore the tooth. One of the most versatile options is the porcelain crown.
 
 
 

What is a Crown?

A crown is essentially a cap that fits over the existing, problematic tooth. When in place, the crown looks like a totally healthy, natural tooth while completely hiding the troubled tooth.

While there are occasionally crowns made from metals, porcelains or plastic (resin), most dental crowns these days are made from ceramic.
 

Material Types

Crowns can be crafted from a number of different materials, each having advantages and disadvantages. These days the most commonly used material is ceramic, however metal or porcelain fused to metal is also used in many cases. All ceramic crowns are favored by dentists due to their natural appearance, strength, ability to color adjust, and ability to resist stains.

Metal crowns are very strong and can last a long time. They are very resistant to chipping or breakage. In addition, sometimes less of the existing tooth needs to be removed with metal crowns versus porcelain or ceramic crowns. While these are advantages, the obvious biggest disadvantage is the un-natural color.

There is just no way to blend the metal color into a mouth full of white teeth. However, while most would not consider metal crowns for the front of their smile, sometimes it is an alternative for out-of-sight teeth in the back of the mouth.

On occasion dentists will use stainless steel for crowns. Stainless steel is generally used for temporary crowns to protect the existing tooth from further damage while a definitive crown is being made, or, more commonly, used for children to cover a baby tooth that will eventually fall out or for adults with special needs where multiple visits are not possible.
 

What to Expect?

Getting a crown is typically a two-step process. Proper preparation of the existing tooth is a crucial step in the crown installation process. Our dentists have to ensure that decay and other issues around the troubled tooth have been remedied. At this point a core buildup or post and core (after a root canal) will be placed to fill the defects in the tooth. Now it is time to prepare the tooth. To do this, our dentists must remove portions of the bad tooth to make space for the crown to fit over it. Our dentists will then take an impression of the tooth (and surrounding teeth) using impression material. The impression is then sent to a dental laboratory where the actual crown is manufactured. It will typically take about two weeks to get the finished crown back from the lab. In the meantime, our dentists will fit you with a temporary crown to keep the prepared tooth protected while awaiting arrival of the definitive crown.

While your new crown will be stain resistant and resist chipping and breakage to some capacity, it is still essential that you practice standard oral hygiene practices around the new crown as the crown does not protect the underlying tooth from decay and other problems. This will keep cavities from developing under (and around) the crown. The dental crown can be cleaned as part of your regular 6-month cleaning.
 

Cemented Bridges

Teeth are no different than the rest of the body; as you age, they're prone to numerous health conditions that can wear away the glimmer of a healthy mouth. Those who don't have the look they'd like – due to tooth loss or advanced decay – might consider a dental bridge, just one item that can help restore your natural smile. Here are the ins and outs of a dental bridge procedure.

A dental bridge is a prosthetic apparatus used to span any area of the mouth where one or more teeth are missing. It's accompanied by a crown on each end of the bridge. Also referred to as a cap, this crown connects to the teeth on both sides of the space that needs to be filled. A false tooth (or set of teeth in the event of a wider gap) then connects to both crowns and fills this spot where one's natural teeth are missing.
 
 

DETERMINING YOUR NEED

A bridge might be necessary as the result of tooth loss, whether it occurs from decay, periodontal disease or physical trauma to the mouth resulting from a sport or similar accident. If missing teeth aren't replaced, the remaining teeth can shift into these gaps, distorting one's normal bite. An imbalance of teeth can also cause gum disease or temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE

There are three main types of bridges: traditional, cantilever and Maryland. A traditional bridge has a crown connected to each side of the artificial tooth. A cantilever bridge is an artificial tooth connected to only one crown, and a Maryland bridge is an artificial tooth bonded to existing teeth on both sides.
 

DESENSITIZING AND RESHAPING

The dental bridge procedure is a multi-step process that takes more than one visit to Sun Dental. Once you're in the chair, our dentists will inject a local anesthetic into the gum tissue adjacent to the tooth next to the bridge. Our dentists then reshape the teeth that will house the crowns, either by filing down sections of the tooth or filling them. These crowns need to fit securely in order to hold the bridge in place.
 

FITTING A SUBSTITUTE

When the teeth have been sufficiently reshaped, our dentists will make an impression of the missing tooth and the surrounding teeth. This impression is sent to a laboratory to customize a bridge that fits your mouth exactly. Until the bridge is developed and returned to our office, you will receive a temporary bridge secured by cement to fill the empty space. The definitive bridge should arrive at Sun Dental within a few weeks, at which time you'll attend a follow-up visit to have the definitive bridge placed. Some of the placement involves making sure the bridge doesn't interfere with your bite alignment.
 

PRESERVING THE BRIDGE

The life of a dental bridge can surpass 10 years with good home care. One of the reasons bridges fail earlier than this is because cavities can form in the crowned teeth. So, a proper oral routine should include brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups to ensure even "bridged" teeth are in perfect health.