Dental Crowns & Bridges

In dentistry, the word crown can refer to the part of a natural tooth that is above the gums, a corrective or cosmetic addition to a natural damaged tooth that restores it to full size and function, or the artificial tooth that is attached to a dental implant or dental bridge. Any way you look at it, the crown is the crowning glory of your teeth; the part that shows when you smile.

Dental crowns that either replace or repair natural teeth are usually made of a mixture of strong materials that provide not only durability but also look natural. This same mixture of materials, called composite or resin, is also used for white fillings. Patients who want the most natural-looking crowns possible can opt for porcelain crowns.

A crown to repair a tooth is placed after the natural tooth is prepared. Dr. Hill first removes all decay and takes an impression of the tooth, from which the crown is molded. The crown is made in a lab, but at the first appointment a temporary crown can be placed. When the permanent crown is ready, it is placed and adjusted to fit precisely and look natural. Then it is cemented in place.

When a tooth is missing, a dental bridge is a more permanent solution than a partial denture. There are a few different types of dental bridges, but the most common type can replace one tooth or a few teeth that are next to each other. The first step is for the teeth on either side of the missing teeth to be prepared to receive partial crowns that make up the ends of the bridge. These teeth are called abutment or anchor teeth, and they provide strength to the entire bridge. The middle of the bridge consists of the false teeth that will fill the space where teeth are missing. As part of a bridge, these are called pontics.

When the bridge is made in the lab from impressions of the anchor teeth and the space between them, it is fitted and cemented into place.

Crowns and bridges can last for years but are susceptible to damage just like natural teeth. Proper oral hygiene is as important as always when you have crowns or a bridge.

If you would like to learn more or come in for an exam or consultation, call Dr. Jessica Hill’s office in Alexandria, Virginia now.

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