Dental bridges and crowns are naturally looking treatments that can restore and protect damaged teeth.
A tooth consists of two parts, the root and the crown. The word crown can sometimes refer to false teeth as well, and generally means the top portion of a tooth or the entire tooth that is above the gumline. A dental crown can restore a broken or damaged tooth. A dental bridge replaces teeth that are missing or that will need to be extracted. We provide both of these services at Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Which one you might need for a bad tooth depends on how bad the damage is.
When a tooth is broken or badly decayed but its root is intact and healthy, a dental crown can restore the tooth so it won’t need extraction. A dental crown fully restores a tooth by surrounding it 360 degrees to make it whole and prevent decay from spreading down to the root. The first step in getting a crown is the preparation of the tooth. The damaged portion is removed and then the tooth is cleaned and shaped in preparation for the crown.
When the process is complete, the crown should be undetectable from your other teeth. Sometimes crowns may be used for cosmetic purposes, but usually veneers made of either composite resin or porcelain are chosen when someone desires a cosmetic change to healthy teeth.
When you have missing teeth that are consecutive, a dental bridge is a replacement option that is more secure than a denture.
A bridge can replace two to about four missing teeth. There are several types of dental bridges, but the most common involves false teeth, called pontics, that are flanked on either side by dental crowns. The teeth on either side of the gap in the mouth are called abutment teeth. The crowns are fixed to the abutment teeth, and the pontics fit into the gap in between.
The first step in getting a traditional bridge is preparation of the teeth that will receive the crowns. Once the crown is placed and adjusted, it is cemented into place. Other types of bridges are not as common and may not be as secure as a traditional bridge. A cantilever bridge can be used in a case where the gap extends to the back of the mouth so that there is only one natural tooth on the side to be used as a support. A bridge is held in place by a metal framework. This is a more conservative approach to a bridge, but may not be as secure.
The newest type of bridge available is an implant-supported bridge. This is the most secure type of bridge, but it does require the surgical implantation of metal posts that hold the bridge in place. Getting this type of bridge also takes longer than other types because of the healing time necessary between placement of the implants and placement of the bridge.