Crowns are usually made of porcelain and are typically used to restore a tooth’s function and appearance. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that a large portion of the tooth must be removed, crowns are used to restore the tooth. Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or when an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
Two visits are required. At the first visit the tooth is shaped, an impression of the prepared tooth is taken and a temporary crown is placed until the permanent crown is ready. The impression is sent to a special lab, which manufactures a custom-designed crown. After the permanent crown is made, it is permanently cemented in place.
With proper care, a good quality crown could last many years. It is very important to brush and floss in the area of the crown just as you would a natural tooth to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration.
Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.
Bridges are natural-looking fixed dental restorations that can replace a section of missing teeth. Just as the name implies, they “bridge” the space between two existing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper contact with adjacent teeth.