An option for patients with one or more missing teeth, dental crowns and bridges are prosthetic devices intended to restore function and appearance.
Our experienced dental team offers dental crowns and bridges in Omaha, NE. Here’s how dental crowns and bridges work and how they’re placed, at our office.
What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns, or caps, are placed over damaged teeth. A crown is a false tooth made of porcelain or ceramic that’s matched to a patient’s existing teeth. When dental fillings aren’t enough, crowns are used to permanently protect and replace the shape of a tooth.
You may need a dental crown for several reasons, including:
- Restoring a broken or worn-down tooth
- Protecting a tooth after a filling, dental implant, or root canal
- Supporting a dental bridge
- Covering severely discolored or crooked teeth
Types of Dental Crowns
There are various materials used to make dental crowns, including porcelain, metal, porcelain fused to metal, and zirconium. These materials all vary in price and function. For instance, ceramic crowns are made to resemble natural tooth enamel, so they’re commonly applied to front teeth.
When selecting a type of crown, our dentists will also consider factors such as:
- Tooth location and function
- Position of gum tissue
- Color of surrounding teeth
- How much tooth is remaining
Procedure for Dental Crowns
- Preparation: Our dentist will start by prepping the tooth with a dental anesthetic. We’ll then begin to file the tooth.
- First Appointment: After reshaping, we’ll make impressions of the tooth, which are sent to a lab in Omaha. At the end of your first appointment, our dentist will fit you with a temporary crown.
- Second Appointment: Once we’ve removed the temporary crown, we’ll prepare the area. The permanent crown is placed and cemented in place.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
On average, dental crowns last between 5-15 years before they need to be replaced. A crown’s longevity, however, depends on the type of material used and the patient’s dental hygiene.
When Does a Dental Crown Need to Be Replaced?
Signs that a crown needs to be replaced may include:
- Pain - In some cases, tooth decay is imminent. A crown may need to be removed to eliminate the decay underneath.
- Odd-feeling bite - If your bite begins to feel uneven, your crown either needs to be adjusted or replaced.
- Instability - Some foods may cause a crown to feel unstable. If this occurs, schedule an appointment with our dentists.
- Receding gums - Receding gums are an indication of gum disease. In this case, periodontal disease treatment may be necessary.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed or removable prosthetic device used to treat patients with one or more missing teeth. Made of porcelain, bridges are combined with metal to improve chewing ability. Dental bridges are recommended for patients with missing teeth or uncomfortable dentures.
Before a dental bridge is placed, our dentists will prepare the teeth adjacent to the gap. We’ll remove part of the enamel from the abutment teeth to make room for the crowns. A temporary bridge is then placed, over top, to protect the crowns until a permanent bridge is ready.
During a later appointment, our dentists will remove the temporary crowns and bridge, ensure the permanent crowns and bridge fit, and cement the bridge in place.
If you’ve opted for a removable dental bridge, we’ll forego the final step.
How Do Dental Bridges Work?
A bridge consists of an artificial tooth fixed between two crowns. Dental bridges are comprised of three parts, including:
- Abutment - The abutment is the base of the bridge. The two, anchoring teeth on either side of the gap are referred to as the “abutment teeth.”
- Crown - Crowns are placed over the abutment teeth to hold the bridge in place.
- Pontic - The pontic is an artificial tooth that replaces the gap. Pontics are placed between the anchor crowns.
A bridge can have more than one pontic, however, four is generally the limit. If the bridge is too extended, it can easily break.
What’s the Difference Between Removable and Fixed Bridges?
Removable dental bridges have crowns, on either side, that clip onto the existing teeth. Fixed bridges are the same, however, once they’ve been secured they’re then cemented in place. Patients who elect for a removable dental bridge often do so because they don’t require oral surgery.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are four types of dental bridges, including traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, maryland bridges, and implant-supported bridges.
Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional bridges are made up of one or more pontics, or artificial teeth, and are fastened to dental crowns. The dental crowns (abutments) are bonded to the teeth adjacent to your missing tooth. Traditional dental bridges are typically an option for patients with natural teeth on both sides of a gap.
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional bridges, however, the artificial tooth is held by an abutment on one side of the gap. This type of bridge is an option for patients with only one natural tooth beside a gap.
Maryland bridges are commonly used to replace front teeth. Like traditional bridges, the maryland bridge also uses two natural abutment teeth, one on each side of the gap. However, maryland dental bridges use a framework of porcelain or metal to support the backs of the abutment teeth.
Implant-supported bridges use dental implants instead of crowns or frameworks. One implant is placed for every missing tooth, however, in some cases, the bridge is suspended between two implant-supported crowns. Implant-supported bridges require two surgeries:
- Surgery to position the dental implants
- Procedure to place the implant-supported bridge
Each type of dental bridge is designed for a specific purpose. Our dentists in Omaha can help determine the most effective dental bridge for your individual needs.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
A dental bridge may need to be replaced every 5-15 years, depending on your oral hygiene and how frequently you visit our office. Removable bridges should be cleaned at least once a day.
We recommend cleaning your removable bridge with a soft-bristled toothbrush, which will help to eliminate plaque and remaining food.
Unlike dentures, dental bridges should not be stored in water or a denture-soaking solution overnight. This could cause the bridge’s metal attachments to rust.
What’s the Difference Between a Crown and a Bridge?
A crown is a cap that’s placed over the teeth to prevent further damage. Bridges are used when one or more teeth are missing. Bridges, unlike crowns, also rely on the existing teeth for support.
Additionally, while a crown is cemented on top of a tooth, a bridge is either fixed or removable.
Dental Crowns & Bridges in Omaha, NE
As part of our cosmetic dentistry services in Omaha, Eagle Run West Dental Group offers dental crowns and bridges for patients with one or more missing teeth.
Want to learn more about dental crowns and bridges? Schedule an appointment or call us at 402-498-8804 to find out if they’re right for you!