Crowns & Bridges

Crowns & Bridges

We know that going to the dentist isn’t the most pleasant of experiences, as a visit usually entails dealing with a problem. However, for us at West Gate Dental, we consider our work as much of an art as it is a science. The dental clinic is not only a place to fix your teeth, but a space for us to help them look fantastic.

At West Gate Dental, we are here to help you figure what treatment plan is the best for you. For some, this can include getting artificial replacements. Dental crowns and bridges are among the best restorative treatments available for teeth. Gaps in areas of loss can cause your other teeth to begin rotating or shifting into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. But which is the best option for you? Let us break down the similarities and differences between these two options. Take a look below to see how they can be the best-looking solution for you, too.

What Is A Crown?

A crown is a covering that fits completely over a damaged, decaying or unattractive tooth. Also known as a “cap,” the crown is the restoration of choice if a tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line. Crowns also strengthen damaged teeth, allowing them to function normally again.

Crowns are additionally designed with an aesthetic purpose, as they can improve upon the original tooth’s appearance. Most types of crowns are made from modern high-tech porcelains (dental ceramics), and they are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. There are other materials available as well. Cast gold, for example, still maintains its reputation for durability, but it is not the most aesthetic choice, especially towards the front of the mouth.

Creating a Bridge

Bridges, unlike crowns, are solely used to replace missing teeth. If you have a missing tooth, crowns can also become a lifelike replacement for a part of dental bridgework, which spans the empty space. Two additional crowns will be placed over the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These healthy teeth are referred to as abutment teeth, and they become supports for the third crown, known as a “pontic,” placed in between them.

Bridges are also adjustable for situations where more than one tooth is missing. More crowns will be needed to bridge the gap, which influences how many healthy abutment teeth are needed. Other factors include the size and length of the abutment tooth roots, the amount of bone support each abutment tooth has, and where in the mouth the missing tooth is located. For example, if you have three missing teeth, four abutment teeth may be necessary, thereby creating a seven-tooth bridge.

Getting Fitted for a Crown

Crowning or capping a tooth will usually take two visits. During the first visit, we will prepare your tooth to receive its crown by shaping it to fit inside the new covering. This will involve some drilling to give the tooth a uniform shape. If there is very little tooth structure to begin will, we may have to build up the tooth with filling material to support the crown.

We will then use putty-like materials to create a physical impression. A dental laboratory will use the impressions to form models of your teeth, and they will serve as guides for highly-skilled lab technicians to create your crown and ensure that it enhances your smile as well as functions well within your bite.

Before leaving the office, we will attach a temporary crown to protect your tooth until the permanent crown is ready in a few weeks. At the second visit, the brand new crown will be attached with a type of permanent cement or a resin that hardens when exposed to a special light source.

Caring for Crowns & Bridgework

Not only are crowns and bridges used for cosmetic reasons, but for oral health reasons as well. Gaps in areas of loss can cause your other teeth to begin rotating or shifting into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. Missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Crowns function like natural teeth, and they require the same conscientious care as your natural teeth, too. Be sure to follow the tips below:

  • Brush and floss every day between all of your teeth, restored and natural, to reduce the buildup of dental plaque.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods and using your teeth as tools (to open packages, for example).
  • If you have a grinding habit, wear a nightguard to protect your teeth and your investment.
  • Maintain your regular schedule of cleanings here at the dental clinic. It’s even more important to do so now!

If you are considering a dental crown or bridgework, our team at West Gate Dental can go over the best options for you and answer any questions you may have about the procedure. Please feel free to contact us or schedule an appointment at our Lincoln, Nebraska office!