Rebuilding The Perfect Smile
Why Do I Need a Crown ?If you want your smile to be your crowning glory, you need healthy, attractive teeth. When they are cracked, stained or damaged, however, your teeth detract from your dental health and your appearance, too. To restore them, we may recommend crowns. The following will help answer some of the common questions you may have about crowns.
What are crowns and why are they used ?A crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of a tooth. A crown is placed for a number of reasons:
Which material is best ?Both the "look" and function of your crowns are considered when choosing the materials most suitable for you. Your dentist will consider the tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, the color or shade of the tooth and the function of the tooth.
Crowns are made from a number of materials, Gold alloys or non-precious alloys, porcelain or ceramic, acrylic or composite resin or combinations of these materials may be used. Porcelain attached to a durable metal shell is commonly used because of its strength. Crowns made entirely of porcelain may look better; however, they usually aren't as strong. In the process of making the crown, the porcelain is colored to blend in with your natural teeth.
How is a crown placed ?Several steps are involved in placing a crown. Usually at least two visits are necessary. We will prepare the tooth by removing the outer portion of your tooth to accommodate the thickness of the crown. If the tooth has a filling, part of the material may be left in place to serve as a foundation for the crown. An impression is made to provide an exact model of the prepared tooth. Our dental laboratory, following the instructions from us, will then make the crown from the model.
" Temporary " crowns (often made of acrylic resins) are placed while the permanent crown is made. If the shape or length of your teeth are changed for cosmetic purpose, for example, temporary crowns will allow you to become accustomed to this change. They can also help you decide if you like what you see or if there are any changes that you would like made before the permanent crowns are placed.
When the permanent crown is ready, we will put it in place and make the necessary adjustment. To see how your crown will look, you can use a large mirror held at arms length in various types of lighting. When you are satisfied with your appearance, the crown will be cemented in place.
What will the finished crown look like ?One of your dentist's main goals is to create crowns that look like natural teeth. To achieve this, a number of factors are considered such as the color, occlusion or " bite, " shape and length of both your natural teeth and of the artificial crown. Any one of these factors alone can significantly affect your appearance.
If you have a certain look in mind for your crown, discuss it with us on your initital visit. When the procedure is complete, your teeth may not only be stronger but they may be the attractive feature of your face - your crowning glory.
Bridging The GapA bridge is a way to replace one or more missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth makes it easier to chew. It can improve your appearance. It also helps keep your teeth, gums, and jaws healthy.
A conventional bridge has replacement teeth that are attached to crowns. The crowns are placed over the natural teeth on either side of the space to be filled.
A Maryland bridge has replacement teeth that are attached to the back of nearby natural teeth using a wing. This type of bridge may be an option if the teeth next to the bridge are in good condition.
Why a Bridge ?Spaces left by missing teeth affect the rest of your teeth. These gaps can cause chewing problems. If even one tooth is missing, other teeth may slowly shift out of place. This changes the way your teeth fit together (your bite). A poor bite may make your jaw sore. Your teeth may become harder to clean, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Shifting teeth may change your smile.
Porcelain-fused-to metal restoration has been in service for about 30 years. They are a metal coping (thimble), with tooth-colored porcelain baked onto it. Such restorations can be as beautiful as natural teeth when placed in the mouth. These restorations are strong and very lifelike, but they have some negative characteristics.
They usually are not acceptable for patients with tooth grinding habits (bruxism or clenching), because they may crack or break under enormous stress. They wear opposing natural teeth in patients with grinding habits. Extreme stress (ice chewing, bones, cherry pits, etc.) can break the porcelain from the metal.
However, in most patients, porcelain-fused-to metal restorations provide excellent, beautiful, long lasting posterior tooth restorations. Unless gold alloy copings are required, porcelain-fused-to metal restorations are slightly less in cost than cast gold restorations.
All Ceramic restorations are now available. They do not have any cast metal in them. These are fired or cast porcelain, or other ceramics. These restorations called aluminous porcelain, IPS Empress, Procera, Dicor, Optec, Hi-Ceram, Willie crowns, and others are highly esthetic and are most indicated for persons with metal allergies. They are suggested only for single crowns and not for multiple units connected together. Their strength is not as high as porcelain-fused-to metal restorations. Cost is similar to porcelain-fused-to metal crowns, or may be somewhat higher.