Crowns and Bridges FAQ

Click on a question to read the answer.

What are dental crowns?

Why do I need a crown?

How do I care for my bridge?

What are dental crowns and why do I need one?

A crown is a type of dental restoration that fully covers over that portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. Once placed, it in effect becomes the tooth’s new outer surface. In comparison, a dental filling just fills in or repairs a portion of a tooth.

Dental crowns are permanently cemented into place. The tooth-crown unit that results is cared for and functions like any natural tooth. Dental crowns are sometimes referred to as “dental caps,” “tooth caps,” or “porcelain jackets.” Crowns can be made out of: Porcelain (or other type of dental ceramic.)

Metal alloy (a gold or other precious, semi-precious or non-precious alloy).

A combination of dental ceramic and metal alloy (porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns).

Each of the above types of crowns has its own characteristic advantages and disadvantages, and therefore its own set of most-suited applications.

Why do I need a crown?

Dental crowns are primarily used to repair and strengthen damaged teeth.   Dental crowns are routinely made for those teeth that have broken, have had large portions destroyed by tooth decay or have had root canal treatment. This is because beyond just restoring a tooth’s shape, a crown can provide a reinforcing and strengthening effect too. The strengthening capability of a dental crown is due to the fact that it cups over and encases the tooth on which it is placed. A crown literally acts as a splint that holds a tooth together. Once a crown has been placed, the tooth can withstand a greater level of chewing forces without risk of fracture. In comparison, dental fillings don’t substantially increase the overall strength of a tooth.

A dental crown offers a big advantage due to the way that it’s constructed.  Crowns are fabricated in a dental laboratory (by a dental technician using molds your teeth) or in our own in-office cerec lab. Dental fillings, in comparison, are built right in your mouth by way of your dentist placing the filling material directly upon your tooth.

Crowns can also improve the appearance of teeth (including color, shape and even apparent alignment). Since a cemented crown becomes its tooth’s new outer surface, it’s not too hard to understand how placing one can be used to restore or improve the shape of a tooth. It’s easier to get the “perfect” tooth shape with a crown. A dental laboratory technician gets the opportunity to simulate and examine aspects of your bite and jaw movements from a variety of angles, and then sculpt your dental crown so it has the ideal shape.

Dental crowns can be used to radically improve the appearance of a person’s smile. In fact, in decades past it was common to hear of movie stars who had had their teeth “capped.” This simply meant that they got their perfect “Hollywood” smile by way of having dental crowns placed.

How do I care for my bridge?

A dental bridge is an appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth , which is cemented into place and can’t be removed. And if it can’t be removed it means you can’t take it out to clean it every night like you can with dentures. So if it’s staying in your mouth 24/7 it needs to be 100% clean and fresh at all times.

A dental bridge depends on the health of the adjacent teeth and gums for support.
To care for your bridge, brush and floss normally after each meal.

Superfloss and floss threaders are effective tools for keeping the area under your bridge plaque-free.

Superfloss has a stiff end that helps in threading it through tight areas and a fuzzy tufted segment that can remove plaque as you floss. Insert the superfloss under the bridge and use it to floss the sides of the teeth and under the bridge.

Floss threaders also aid in removing plaque. Pull out about 18 inches of floss, insert it through the floss threader, and then use the threader to insert the floss under your bridge. Floss to remove food particles and plaque from the sides of the teeth and under the bridge. Use the same procedure to care for your temporary bridge, being careful not to dislodge it as you brush and floss. If it does come loose, gently re-attach it; call our office if your temporary bridge frequently comes loose.

Depending on the situation, our providers may give you additional tools and recommend techniques to help keep all the areas around your bridge free from plaque buildup.