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Crowns, Bridges, and Veneers

If you have a damaged or decayed tooth, our dentists can help you choose the best solution. Crowns and bridges are custom-fitted tooth prosthetics that function and look like natural, healthy teeth. Veneers are a less invasive alternative, but may only be a solution for those with slight tooth damage or discoloration. These thin porcelain or resin shells come in customizable colors and are bonded to the surface of your teeth. We use an i-tero digital scanner instead of "goop" impressions.  It is much more accurate and more comfortable for the patient. 

 

Crowns

Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.

Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.

It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. In the first any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then a digital impression(without the "goop") is made of the tooth for use in fabricating a crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn. In the second visit this temporary is removed. Then the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and then cemented in place.


 

Bridges

This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.

It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of bad things. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and, with one missing, they start to "fall." As this worsens the bite changes in response to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.


Types of Bridges:

  • Traditional  Caps are bonded over teeth that lie on either side of the missing one
  • Cantilever  Cap is bonded over a single tooth next to the missing one
  • Resin-bonded  Porcelain or plastic teeth with gums that are supported by metal “wings”

 

Veneers

Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.

The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.

The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are very esthetic.

The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.

If you’re looking to cosmetically correct or enhance the appearance of one or more teeth, we suggest veneers. They are very thin, porcelain or resin shells that you can customize in color and shape. They are non-invasive and are resistant to future stains.


Common uses for veneers:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Misshapen or irregular teeth
  • Teeth that do not respond to traditional whitening treatments