What Is a Dental Crown?
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases a tooth, restoring it to its original shape and size. It can be made from many different materials, such as porcelain, metal, or a combination of both. It is used for several different situations:
- when a tooth is so badly broken down that a filling will not suffice
- to help protect the tooth from breaking after a root canal
- to cover a natural tooth or an implant
- strictly cosmetic purposes, to make teeth look and align better instead of having to go through the expense and procedure of having veneers placed
The primary reason for a crown is to restore a broken-down tooth. Sometimes a filling just won’t get the job done correctly. When more than 50% to 75% of the tooth is damaged, a crown is indicated, rather than a filling. Crowns can be made of many different materials, such porcelain, metal, or a combination of porcelain and metal.
Dental Crown Procedure
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include shaping of the tooth, an impression (mold), and a temporary crown. Your impression will be sent to a laboratory for 2 to 3 weeks. At your second appointment the temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
On average, crowns will last 7 to 10 years. There are many variables, such as (but not limited to):
- strength of a person’s bite
- susceptibility to decay
- condition of the tooth being crowned
- presence of gum disease
- amount of clenching & grinding, as well as usage of a night guard
- how many other teeth are present, as well as the condition of those teeth, to distribute biting forces
- chewing habits (hard vs soft foods, chewing of non-food items such as pencils and tearing bags)
What If I have Dental Implants?
Crowns are not always placed onto teeth; sometimes they are placed onto implants. The process is very similar: an impression is taken and then the crown is either cemented or screwed onto the implant. Unlike natural teeth, you do not have to worry about decay around implants. However, without proper hygiene and follow-up care, you can develop a situation called “peri-implantitis” which can cause loss of the implant.
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What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is used to replace a missing tooth. Dental bridges are made out of many different materials including ceramic and metal.
Dental Crown vs Bridge
Unlike an implant, it requires the teeth on either side of the space to hold the replacement tooth in place. Dr. Goldberg places crowns (caps) onto the teeth on either side of a missing tooth and hangs the replacement tooth from those crowns with a bridge. In comparison, with an implant, the teeth do not have to touch on either side of the space.
When a bridge needs to be replaced, the whole thing needs to be removed. You are risking tooth fracture and root canal treatment. On the contrary, if something needs to be replaced with an implant, it usually is the portion above the gum: the implants remain untouched in the bone.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Bridges have an average lifespan (bridges and crowns) of approximately 7 to 10 years.
Crown and Bridge Maintenance
A cavity can still form underneath a crown or a bridge, so it is essential to practice good dental habits and follow your dentist’s instructions in care and maintenance. Regular check-ups and cleanings are a great way to ensure the lifespan of a bridge or crown.
Schedule a Consultation
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To learn more about dental crowns & bridges or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Goldberg, please call our Succasunna office at (973) 328-1225 Our practice in Succasunna treats patients from Randolph, Denville and surrounding areas in Morris County, NJ.