Crown & Bridge FAQ's:


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What exactly is a crown?
Grinding your teeth, an improper bite, age, fillings and tooth decay can all be contributing factors in the wearing down, cracking or breakage of your teeth. Dental crowns are designed to cover the entire visible surface of the affected tooth and add strength, durability and tooth stability. Crowns are designed to look and function just like a tooth.

When is a crown necessary?
When the entire surface of the tooth is a problem whether from decay, wear or trauma, but the root system is intact, a crown might be just what the dentist orders.

How long will a crown last?
It would be the dentist's hope that any crown would last ten to fifteen years or longer. Depending on the environment and forces the crown is exposed to (chewing, biting, accidental trauma, tooth grinding) and how well you keep the tooth to which it is cemented free of dental plaque, a crown can last somewhat indefinitely. Some of the reasons that a crown may need to be replaced are: The crown no longer matches the surrounding teeth in shade or colour. What this means is that the surrounding teeth are either lighter in shade due to bleaching, or darker in shade due to natural aging. The crown is worn. Some crowns are made out of material that wears just like natural enamel and can wear over time, when exposed to clenching and grinding. Cavities have formed along the edge of the crown. Hygiene is therefore very important for the longevity of any type of dental restoration.

How are crowns made?
Crowns are custom made by dental laboratory ceramists. The surface of the crown is usually dental porcelain that is shaded to precisely match your smile. Very often the crowns and bridges can be made entirely of dental porclelain and sometimes it is necessary to reinforce the restorations with precious alloys.

What is the tooth crowning procedure?
A simple tooth crowning procedure is often done in two steps. The first step involves reducing the visible surface of the involved tooth so that a custom made crown or artificial tooth will fit over the preparation. Because it can take up to two weeks for the custom made crown to be fabricated, at the tooth preparation stage we fit the involved tooth with a temporary crown. The temporary crown is only used until the custom crown is permanently seated into place. After a week or two, the custom made crown is ready to be permanently cemented into place, and this happens during the second and last treatment.

How is a bridge different than a crown?
A bridge is designed to replace a tooth that is entirely missing. The two teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared so that they each support an "abutment" crown. These two crowns support the tooth that "bridges" the gap created by the missing tooth. The suspended crown that takes the place of the missing tooth is called a pontic.

Is the crowning procedure painful?
Crown and bridge procedures are very routine and should not cause any more discomfort than having a filling replaced. There may be some sensitivity around the gumline after the first appointment, but that should ease in a day or so.

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