A crown fits over the entire top of the tooth above the gum line. Crowns cover, protect, seal and strengthen a tooth. A crown is needed when a filling just will not work. A crown may be made of gold, white porcelain, or porcelain fused to gold.
There are many situations that may call for a crown:
If a tooth has decay so deep and large that a filling will not stay, or if the tooth structure is weakened,
a crown must be placed on the tooth to save it.
Large old fillings.
When large old fillings break down, or get decay around them, they usually need to be crowned. It
is important to crown a tooth that has been structurally
weakened to prevent a cracked or broken tooth. Once
a tooth breaks, it may not be possible to save it.
When a tooth is cracked, a filling will not seal the crack. A crown has to be placed
over the tooth to hold it and the crack together.
If a crown is not placed on the tooth, the tooth
will become sensitive to chewing pressure, or will
eventually break. It is important to crown a cracked
tooth before it breaks, because in some cases
a broken tooth cannot be crowned and must be extracted.
Broken / Fractured tooth.
A tooth that has broken is usually too weak to hold
a filling. A crown will hold
the tooth together and prevent it from breaking again.
If the fracture involves the nerve, Root
Canal Therapy may be required before the tooth is
crowned. In some cases, a broken tooth cannot be saved
and must be extracted.
|This patient chose not to have the cracked tooth
above crowned, and it later fractured. This tooth
had to be extracted because it cracked all the way
to the root.
Teeth that are very sensitive, either from a lot of
"wear", or from receded gums, sometimes require crowns
to seal and protect the teeth from hot and cold sensitivity.
Root Canal Therapy.
A tooth that has undergone Root Canal Therapy will need
a crown to properly seal and protect the tooth. A tooth
with Root Canal Therapy is more brittle than a tooth
with a healthy nerve and blood supply. A crown provides
the necessary support to the tooth.
In cosmetic dentistry, crowns (sometimes
called "caps") are used less frequently
since the advent of veneers,
but in some cases a crown may be necessary for a particular
tooth. A tooth with a bad fracture or a large filling may be
a candidate for a crown instead of a veneer.
|Before: This tooth has a large filling
as shown. A crown is needed on this tooth, instead
of a veneer, because there isn't enough natural
tooth left to support a veneer. A crown will cover
and protect the tooth, but will look the same as
|After: The top teeth now have veneers,
except the one that had the large filling, which
now has a crown.
A Permanent Bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. A
- Keep teeth from drifting into the space created from
a missing tooth
- Help preserve normal function and normal bite for the
A Permanent Bridge is usually anchored to the teeth on both
sides of the space from the missing tooth. This gives the
bridge strong support. Brushing a bridge is no different than
brushing natural teeth, but special flossing instructions
are given to keep the bridge and surrounding tissue healthy.
A Permanent Bridge is permanently bonded in place, unlike
a Partial Denture (sometimes called a "Removable
Bridge"), which is removable.
Dental Implants vs. Fixed Bridges
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are actually a series of procedures used to recreate a missing tooth. The key part of a dental implant is the initial titanium implant which sits in the original tooth's bone pocket, or alveolus. The titanium works well with the bone and actually forms a bond with it over time, much like the original bond between the tooth and the jaw bone. This is essential as it prevents bone loss that would normally occur with any other type of tooth replacement. Dental implants are capped with a crown, which replicates the enamel or visible portion of a tooth, and in many cases the replacement tooth will work just as well, if not better, than the original tooth.
How do I decide if I should get a Fixed Bridge or Implant?
As described above, a fixed dental bridge is a non-removable prosthesis attached to remaining natural teeth. The false tooth or teeth literally bridge the gap between two crowned teeth.
For a long time, fixed bridges were the best alternative for people who had lost teeth, as they were quite successful and esthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, bridges can also present some problems because the natural teeth that lie on either side of the bridge are filed to accept the appliance. Implants also last on average longer than dental bridges.
Cost Breakdown: Implant vs. Bridge
At first glance, it may appear that a bridge is the more economical route; but that is not always the case. Our office will be glad to sit down with you to help compare immediate cost versus overall value. We often find the dental implant is more cost-effective in the long term and the better treatment option – if the patient is a candidate for implants. We also find more and more insurances assisting on implant solutions.