Crown & Bridgework
Missing, discolored, chipped, and poorly restored teeth can make you look older than your years, steal your self-confidence, and negatively impact oral function. Its also unhealthy to have missing teeth or teeth which have aged, are leaky, or have unaesthetic restorations. These conditions often cause gum disease and bone loss around the affected teeth and potentially far-reaching health problems throughout the body, as damaged teeth or leaky restorations can harbor billions of bacteria. Dr. Singer or Dr. Tami remedies this with the placement of aesthetic, metal-free crowns and bridge work for a healthy, natural-looking, and beautiful smile.
A dental bridge contains one or more prosthetic teeth to fill a missing tooth in a smile. Drs. Singer or Tami attaches custom bridgework to abutment teeth that are prepared like crowned teeth. Metal-free ceramic bridges are fixed and are made of modern ceramics that no longer require metal substructures, providing for superior aesthetic and health characteristics. After evaluating your teeth and gums, as well as your overall health, Drs. Singer or Tami will work with you to determine which particular option best suits your needs and lifestyle. With modern materials that look completely natural, metal-free crown and bridgework looks fantastic and returns full oral function.
Before crown and bridge work can be done, the natural teeth must be reshaped, and some of the enamel must be removed. One of the many benefits of this work is that it can correct color differences in your teeth. A preferred alternative to bridgework, however, is dental implants, as they do not require any reshaping of good healthy teeth and keep each tooth a separate system.
A crown is a replica of your tooth that fits over the natural tooth-after it has been prepared. An impression is taken of your tooth in order to create the custom crown. A temporary crown, typically made in-house is usually placed until the permanent crown is fabricated by our lab.
Crowns in the past included metal and were not only questionable in terms of biological compatibility, but did not look natural. The metal showed through and often made the teeth look dark at the gum line and opaque above the gum line. Todays porcelain crowns are natural-looking restorations that are translucent and can and should perfectly imitate the natural visual characteristics of healthy, bright teeth. Unlike dentures that are removable, crowns and bridges are cemented onto the teeth and are not removable.
In some cases, crowns can relieve pain caused by small cracks in teeth, and they can be used to strengthen a natural tooth that is weak. Many teeth are weakened by large fillings (left untreated these teeth could have catastrophic cracks resulting in tooth loss) that have broken down and become leaky over time. These defective restorations usually aren’t painful unless they become so broken down that there is catastrophic failure and breakage of the tooth or decay sufficient to necessitate a root canal. An experienced dentist can use x-rays and carefully examine the restorations which should be replaced to avoid any catastrophic events or tooth loss.
We usually recommend fixed bridges or implants because they are a more stable, permanent, healthier, and a more definitive solution than removable types. There are removable bridges, known as removable partial dentures, which are attached to the abutment teeth with clasps. Removable bridges must be taken out of the mouth and cleaned after meals.
Because of the natural leverage placed on the remaining teeth, removable partial dentures cause excess stress on the clasped teeth, which can cause damage to these teeth, including recession and devitalization (death of the nerve) leading to the need for root canals and premature loss of the teeth. Depending on the situation, removable partial dentures usually last for up to five years at best. They wear quickly, the clasps break down and the metal can break down with normal chewing. With the need for frequent maintenance and replacement, it becomes a continuous cycle of extra visits and expense that become very frustrating and more expensive to the patient in the long run.
Bridges also prevent teeth from moving so that they remain in the proper position, and they can help to improve the bite, moving the teeth into their correct position so that occlusion (the way the upper and lower teeth connect) is more accurate.