Crowns & Bridges
When a tooth is cracked, decayed or fractured and can no longer be restored with a filling, a crown (cap) may have to be fitted. Made of a gold alloy or tooth-colored porcelain, a crown encompasses the remaining tooth structure and provides strength and esthetics, maintaining your smile and your ability to chew properly.
Teeth with large fillings and stress fractures are the most common teeth requiring crowns. After years of fillings wearing out and being replaced by even larger ones, and the constant hot-and-cold cycles we put our teeth through (like eating a bite of warm pie a la mode and washing it down with a swig of hot coffee!), our teeth often crack. Sometimes, entire corners of teeth break off, leaving sharp edges and sensitive, exposed tooth structure, often with no warning signs.
If the nerve and blood supply to the tooth is considered stable, often a crown is the treatment of choice for a fractured or cracked tooth. The tooth is reshaped, usually under local anesthetic for comfort, and an impression is taken of the tooth. While the impression is sent to a laboratory where your crown will be made, a temporary crown is placed to protect your tooth. At a second appointment, usually two to three weeks later, the temporary crown is removed, and your new crown is cemented in place, allowing you to resume normal activity.
For missing teeth, many times a fixed bridge is made. It is essentially two crowns – like bridge abutments – supporting replacement teeth where teeth are missing, thus the name “bridge.” In cases where a removable partial denture is not desired and implants are not indicated, a fixed bridge may be the treatment of choice to replace missing teeth.